Endive

Endive - cichorium endivia is a salad plant that resembles lettuce, and is often used as a substitute for it, during the winter months.

The leaves are more bitter than lettuce, but blanching the plant prior to harvesting can reduce this bitterness.

Growing it in containers can prolong the season as this method will allow you to take the container under cover to grow on and harvest during the winter.

They grow to around 300mm (12") high with a similar spread.

Cultivation

Week 16: Prepare beds for sowing by raking in a general fertiliser at 60gms per sq.metre (2oz/sq yd).

Week 17: Sow seed out in the open, into 12mm (1/2") deep drills in fertile soil in rows 600mm(24") apart.

Make Successive sowings every 3-4 weeks to extend the growing/cropping season.

Thin out seedlings to 250-300mm (10"-12") apart when large enough to handle.

Thinnings can be potted up to be grown in containers but may run to seed quicker.

As an alternative, sow seed directly into containers and thin out as necessary after germination.

Keep moist but not over wet throughout the growing season.

Week 42: Blanch both curled and broad-leaved endive as they approach maturity.

Blanching helps to reduce the bitter taste of leaves and takes up to three weeks, depending on the weather.

Ensure leaves are perfectly dry (cloching will help) before completely blanching by covering with a large inverted pot (with drainage hole plugged).

Tying in the leaves of the curled type also has a similar effect.

Cloche August-sown, broad-leaved endive before hard frosts begin.





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