Chicory and Raddichio
The wild form of this Mediterranean native is a perennial Western roadside weed with pretty, 2–4-ft.-tall, sky blue summer flowers. Different strains of it are grown for three purposes: for salad greens (small-rooted red- or green-leafed varieties); for roots to make a coffee substitute (large-rooted varieties); and for Belgian or French endive (‘Witloof’ chicory). For the standard salad green called endive, see Endive.
“Radicchio” is the name given to red-leafed chicories grown for salads. ‘Indigo’, ‘Palla Rossa’, and ‘Red Treviso’ are good varieties. Radicchio makes lettucelike heads that color to a deep rosy red as weather grows cold in fall or winter; its slight bitterness lessens as its color deepens. Harvest after heads form.
Among green-leafed varieties, try ‘Catalogna’ and ‘Red Rib’ for dandelion-leafed varieties, or the heirloom ‘Crystal Hat’, whose leaves grow like romaine lettuce. Pick tender young leaves as needed.
For roots to make a coffee substitute, ‘Magdeburgh’ (‘Cicoria Siciliana’) is a good choice.
To grow Belgian or French endive, try ‘Witloof Bruxelles’ or ‘Totem’. Harvest after new growth appears.
Sow all types 1/4–1/2 in. deep, 2–3 in. apart, in rows spaced 18 in. apart. Green-leafed types and root types: Sow starting in early spring (up to early summer where summers are not too hot). In areas with mild winters, you can also plant in mid- to late summer for fall and winter harvest (or, in the desert, in fall for winter harvest). Red-leafed types: Sow in mid- to late summer to mature in cool autumn months, though variety ‘Giulio’ can be sown in spring to harvest in summer. Belgian endive: Sow seeds in spring or early summer; plants will mature by fall. In winter, trim the greens to an inch of stem; then dig the roots, bury them diagonally in moist sand, and set in a dark, cool room until pale, tender new growth has been forced.
This unique foliage plant, native from Mexico to Argentina, grows 6–12 in. high and spreads vari...
The wild form of this Mediterranean native is a perennial Western roadside weed with pretty, 2–4...
Plant forms clumps to 2 ft. high (usually shorter) of dark green leaves that look grasslike but are ro...