For home gardeners and for home cooks, endive provides a wonderful alternative to lettuce.
Like lettuce, endive is a cool-season crop, although it's more tolerant of heat than lettuce. Grow it from seed planted in your garden four to six weeks before the average date of last frost. Long, hot summers will force the plant to bolt (go to seed).
If your region has a short, hot growing season, start endive indoors from seed. Transplant it as soon as possible so the plants mature before the weather gets hot.
Starting in midsummer, sow succession crops in well-worked soil with good drainage and water retention. If you're direct-seeding, sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in wide rows. Thin the plants to 9 to l2 inches apart; crowded plants may bolt early. Water regularly to keep the plants growing quickly; lack of water will slow growth and cause the leaves to become bitter. Endive tastes better if you blanch it by tying string around the leaves to hold them together. This deprives the plant of sunlight, discouraging the production of chlorophyll.
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How to grow
How to prepare Endive
IP019 Bianca Riccia ( Cichorium endivia )
For salad mix, extra cut, fringed leaf, light green, pink petiole, heat and cold tolerant, 35 days.
Member of the chicory family, great addition to a salad with it's distinctive, slightly bitter taste. A good cool weather crop. The leaves are extra-cut and fringed, a unique light green color with pink petiole. Relatively tolerant to heat and cold for growing year-round. Plant as you would lettuce.
TST116 Rossa Di Verona ( Cichorium intybus )
Deep red leaves contrast nicely with a white stem. Very nice and tight head. This is the type you usually find in the supermarkets. 90 or so days. Use in salads or cook. Spring and fall, but best color in fall.
TST117 Sugar Loaf ( Cichorium intybus )
Unlike escaroles and curly endives, which grow outward in great sprawling rosettes, sugarloaf chicories grow upright to about a foot tall, their leaves wrapping tightly around each other to form dense loaves. Like the leaves of escaroles and chicories, the leaves of sugarloaf chicories are green at the edges and creamy yellow near the center.
A slight bitter taste, but sweeter than other endives, this and the unique loaf shape provide the descriptive name. 80-90 days.