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Growing Chicory, also Witloof, Belgian endive

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S P P              

(Best months for growing Chicory in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays 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.

Your comments and tips

02 Sep 15, Willem Verbruggen (United Kingdom - warm/temperate climate)
Hello Sylvia, I hope you were able to grow some witloof. In case you still need some advice, a brief discription for the growing of witloof. Please don't mind my bad writing and grammitcal errors. The growing of witloof happens in three main stages/phases. Phase one is the root growing process in the field. The seconde Phase is the growing of the crop/endive itself/ also called forcery (happens at home) and the last Phase is the growing of the seeds. The rootgrowing starts (in Belgium) early May with the sowing of the seeds in rows (distance between rows 20-25cm, distance between seeds 4-6cm). The soil must be prepared deep enough, fine, crumbly, airy and without weeds. After a few days/weeks , depending on the weather , the seed starts to germinate. You have to aim 25 plants per square meter. A little more if your soil is ritch on nitrogen. The only thing you have to do then is keeping the parcel weedfree and checking for diseases/fungi. In oktober/november, when the leaves start to turn Brown and before it starts to freeze, the roots are harvested. The leaves are cut about 3cm above the root and the root is shortened to 20cm. After the cleaning of the roots they are put to rest for a few days/weeks in a refrigarator with temp around 3°c. They van also be rested in a very dry environment. This way the plant reaches a resting state. After a few days /weeks the roots are moistened and embedded with 20 cm of covering soil 20cm (or without depending on the race of witloof). When embedded in a well in a shed or barn you have to cover them with a vaper permeabel cloth. If embedded in a welk in open air you lay an insulator (straw, dry leaves) before you cover it with a cloth. You will also need to cover it from rain. (Little shelter) From there on soil temperature, soil humidity and air temperature are very important. Traditional the farmer forces (forcery) the conditions to become idealy for the growth of the endives with heating and humidifiers. If the bottem temperature is high enough (between 10 to 20°c) you can try to grow endives without a heating system. Generaly in early spring you can use the natural warming of the earth to grow the endives. Typically it takes 21 days to grow the crops (normal conditions). Know that in winter (soil below 10°c) when using a heating/humidifiing system, you create a better and more constant envirenmont for the growth of endives, resulting in a better quality and taste. After the forcing you can select your best root/crop to collect seeds From. (Don't use hybrid races) You just keep it away From frost and comes spring you plant it in a field. It becomes a bush (1,5m) with lightblue flowers in august. Bee's do their magic and in september you can harvested and dry the seeds. I hope this helped you on your way a bit? Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or doubts. I'll try to answer them. Is witloof really that hard to find in SA and Australië? It's one of my "dreams" to try and cultivate traditional witloof in Australia but I really wouldn't know how and where to begin.. I hope you have a lot of fun farming. Greetings From Belgium, Willem Verbruggen
08 Dec 14, Mvuyisi (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi I really need help finding a place that sells the seeds or the chicory roots to produce Belgian endive...
02 Oct 14, Carla (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
To those who want seed. Ask people who are going oversees to bring it for you.
01 Aug 14, Ernest Gouws (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Hi I would like to know where I can buy Witlof seeds. I live in Benoni. Ernest
28 Jun 14, peter (Australia - arid climate)
where can I buy chicory seeds in perth
14 May 14, ROB MEEUSEN (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Ik ben Kok . Helemaal geen groene vingers. Graag wil ik Witloof kweken . De witloof wortel geeft mij het grote probleem . Wanneer zaaien . Kan dit in de winter in de West kaap . Het zaad heb ik reeds . Dank voor wat hulp . ROB MEEUSEN . 'm Cook. No green thumb. I would like chicory cultivation. The chicory root gives me the big problem. When sowing. Can this winter in the Western Cape. The seed I have already. Thanks for some help. ROB MEEUSEN.
23 Jun 15, Samuel (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi Rob Did you get your Witloof seeds here in South Africa, if yes where?
22 Oct 14, Monique Terblanche (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Hoi, Ik ben een Vlaming wonende in Pretoria en kan nergens witloof kopen. Hebt u al een kweker gevonden en indien wel , wilt u aub een adres geven waar ik het kan kopen. Groetjes Moniqiue (Hi, I am a Fleming living in Pretoria and nowhere to buy chicory. Have you already found a breeder and if so, would you please give an address where I can buy it. Greetings Moniqiue)
27 Aug 13, (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
where can I buy witloof in gauteng
26 Aug 13, Bill Van Dipten (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
where can I buy Brussels Endive (aka Witloof) seeds for planting in my garden in Cape Town ...so far no success with my search
Showing 21 - 30 of 41 comments

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