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How to Grow Chickory

Chickory, or chicons, are not one of the more popular of vegetables in the home garden. Suffice it to say their tart, bitter taste is not for everyone. There is little written about them. They are however, an interesting vegetable, and are used in salads and a variety of recipes around the world.


Varieties of Chickory:

  • Forced- Put roots in the dark and harvest the white, closely bunched leaves.

  • Non-forcing- Harvest the leafy heads in the fall.


Planting:


Thinly sow seeds 1/4 inch deep, in rows spaced about a 1 1/2 feet apart. Thin to one every 6-9 inches.


Care and Maintenance:


Growing Chickory  plants is easy. Chickory will grow in sunny to partly sunny locations. They will tolerate poor soils, but respond well to rich compost.

Make sure to provide ample water to keep the soil moist.


Days to Maturity:

80 to 90 days.


Insects and Pests:


Chickory is susceptible to the same insects as the lettuce family. This includes snails and slugs, aphids, and a variety of cut worms and moth caterpillars.


Disease:


Wilting and summer rot from heat and humidity can occur.


Harvesting:


Harvest leaf Chickory as the leaf reaches sizable portions. Harvest the head before frost.

To grow the blanched chicons, harvest the roots, before frost. Place in a container covered by sand, in a dark room. Harvest tight yellow-white heads after they reach 6-7 inches, cutting them just below the surface.


Hardiness:


Like lettuce, Chicory is a tender vegetable. Plant just before the last spring frost date and harvest before the first fall frost.


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