Grow Chicory Easily With These Helpful Tips

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Chicory

Growing Chicory

Chicory is a type of leafy green vegetable with a somewhat bitter taste that is popularly added to salads, sandwiches, and other recipes. It boasts a whole host of nutritional benefits which make it an attractive option for those looking to add more healthy ingredients to their diet. If you're considering growing chicory in your own garden, then read on for some helpful tips that will make sure your crop is successful!

Cheatsheet: Growing Chicory Tips

1. Soil and Sun

Plant in well-drained soil with full sun exposure. 🌱☀️

2. Sowing and Germination

Sow chicory seeds thinly at a depth of 1/2 inch. Germination takes 7-14 days. 🌱🌿

3. Watering

Keep soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. 💧🌱

4. Thinning and Spacing

Thin seedlings to 12-16 inches apart to allow proper growth. 🌱📏

5. Pest Resistance

Chicory is naturally resistant to pests, making it low maintenance. 🐛🚫

6. Harvesting

Start harvesting leaves after 40-60 days. Enjoy a continual harvest for months! 🌿🌱

7. Nutritional Benefits

Chicory is high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Boost your health! 🥗💪

8. Varieties

Explore different chicory types: Belgian endive, radicchio, and curly endive. 🥬🌱

9. Overwintering

Protect plants from harsh frosts by mulching and covering. Extend your harvest! ☃️⛄

10. Self-Sufficiency

Growing chicory at home reduces reliance on store-bought greens. Be self-sufficient! 🥦🌱

Growing Chicory: A Gardener's Guide

Why Grow Chicory?

I’ve always found chicory to be a delight in my garden. It’s often overlooked but pops up with vibrant blue flowers.

Amongst its benefits, it’s not just beautiful but also beneficial for your garden soil.

Chicory's deep taproot aerates the soil, making it more fertile.

Choosing the Right Varieties

Not all chicory is created equal. Choose between root chicory for coffee or salad chicory for delicious leaves.

Catalogna and Brussels Witloof are two varieties I adore for their flavor and growth habits.

Site Selection and Soil Requirements

Chicory loves full sun. Select a site where it can bask in 6-8 hours of sunlight.

It thrives in well-drained soil. Amend heavy clay soils with compost.

Ensure soil pH is between 5.8 and 6.5 for optimal growth.

Planting Chicory

  1. Sow seeds directly in the garden as chicory doesn't transplant well.
  2. Plant in rows, spacing seeds about 1 foot apart to give roots room to grow.
  3. Water regularly but don't let the soil get soggy.

Tip: Stagger plantings every two weeks for a continuous harvest.

Maintenance and Care

Once established, chicory is a low-maintenance crop. However, regular weeding is essential.

Apply a light mulch to keep the soil cool and moist. This also helps with weed control.

Chicory's resilience makes it perfect even for novice gardeners.

Pests and Diseases

Chicory is relatively pest-free but watch out for slugs and snails. These critters seem to love young chicory leaves.

For disease, downy mildew can be a concern in humid climates. Ensure good air circulation to prevent this.

Harvesting Chicory

For leaves, harvest while young and tender, typically 85-100 days after planting.

Roots are ready when they’re about the size of a small carrot, around 120 days.

Chicory leaves are best harvested in the morning when they’re crisp and less bitter.

Final Thoughts on Growing Chicory

In my experience, growing chicory is really straightforward.

Follow these tips, and you'll find it a rewarding addition to your garden.

FAQ

1. How long does chicory take to grow?

Chicory takes approximately 75-90 days to grow from seed to harvest.

2. What type of soil does chicory prefer?

Chicory thrives in well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

3. Can I grow chicory in containers?

Absolutely! Choose a deep container and ensure it has good drainage.

4. How often should I water chicory plants?

Water one inch per week and keep the soil consistently moist.

5. Do chicory plants need full sun?

Yes, chicory requires full sun for optimal growth.

6. How do I prevent pests from damaging my chicory crop?

Use organic pest control methods such as neem oil or companion planting.

7. When should I harvest chicory?

Harvest chicory when the leaves are dark green and mature for the best flavor.

Growing chicory can be a great way to get more zinc, vitamin C, and iron in your diet. Plus, it's easy to cultivate, adding color and texture to any garden or landscaping. Not only can chicory benefit your health, but it can also be a beautiful addition to any outdoor area, converting any dull space into a vibrant paradise. Growing chicory can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, no matter how experienced or inexperienced the gardener. So why not give it a go?

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