Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

Cichorium intybus : Asteraceae / the daisy family

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 = Sow seed
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 10 - 12 inches 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

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 5 cm (2 in) above the roots. Shorten the roots to about 20 - 25cm (8 - 10 in) and replant close together (3 - 5 cm 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

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)?
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 ;-)
22 Feb 19, Belg (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Orderings in Chistchurch
15 Apr 19, Yolanda Simons (New Zealand - temperate climate)
where can I please purchase witlof plants . Kind regards Yolanda
01 Jan 22, Deborah (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I bought a bundle of seedlings at PacnSave in Mt Albert in October or November. They were from Awapuni Nurseries in Palmerston North. They are now enormous, bitter and taking up space. I've just read I was supposed to dig them up, cut them back hard and plant them in the dark but that didn't happen. They'll probably become compost, sadly.
11 Jun 21, CH Brouwer (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Where to purchase Witloof roots or seeds in New-Zealand ?
13 Jun 21, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Try any of the online seed merchants, like Egmont Seeds
19 Jun 21, Laura (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Try on-line seed suppliers.
Showing 1 - 10 of 17 comments

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