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Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                  P P  

(Best months for growing Chicory in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 25 - 30 cm apart
  • Harvest in 16-24 weeks. Will need forcing before final harvest.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Carrots, onions, Florence fennel, tomatoes.
  • Forced (blanched) witloof
    Forced (blanched) witloof

Harvest - to prepare to store for forcing at around 4-5 months . The second stage, blanching will take 8 - 12 weeks. To Blanch:- Lift the plants and cut off the leaves about 5cm (2in) above the roots. Shorten the roots to about 20-25cm (8-10in) and replant close together (3-5cm apart)in a pot filled with loose soil. Keep damp but not soggy. Cover to exclude light and keep out of the sunlight, but not below 10 C (50 F)

Exclude light until you use the witloof, if it goes green it will be bitter.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Chicory

Good in salads
Grill lightly with butter
Bake with ham and cheese

Your comments and tips

18 Jan 17, Te Pi' (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, I had red lettuce seeds now it appears I actually have some type of dark-red leaved chicory, its very bitter as a lettuce lol, would anyone be able to give me an idea of what variety this might be? Can Chicory and lettuce cross breed at all? Does anyone want some seeds to try out if they germinate etc after harvest?
20 Jan 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
It appears your 'red lettuce' is aactually Radicchio which has a hot peppery taste. It is generally loved by Italians and there are many recipes on the internet for its use. If it is grown fast with less light it is likely to be les bitter. Sorry I can't help you more. Trust this helps.
01 Feb 17, anna (New Zealand - temperate climate)
well hot peppery does not quite describe the flavour in my eyes. it´s bitter and tangy, needs some getting used to for raw consumption. one of my favourite recipies is risotto with radiicchio or simply slicing it thinnly, add oil, a splash of balsamic/lemon or wine and top with grated blue vain cheese,put under grill for 10 or until tender- eat with toasted white bread ;-)
15 Apr 13, marian seegers (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Please have you any idea where I can buy witloof here in New Zealand (south Island)?

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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