Home gardeners are going to find that this is a perfect fall crop. It simply doesn’t do very well when spring-started when it runs into summer heat but prefers the extended cool temperatures of fall. You can start it in the spring, just understand you won’t likely get as good a crop as with the later sowing and fall harvest.
When to Plant
- If you want to grow a spring crop, sow outdoors in mid-April in zone 5. Adjust your timing up and down for every zone different than 5.
- Sow outdoors mid-June in all but the coldest zones for a fall crop.
Where to Plant
Good soil in full sun
How to Plant
Sow .6 cm deep at one seed every .2 cm
Seeds want soil temperatures of 7-10C to germinate. They will not germinate if the soil temperatures are higher.
The seed is also light-sensitive. This means you do not cover the seed. Firm the soil where you want to plant. Lay seed down on soil and firm seed into the firmed seedbed so it is in contact with the soil.
Care and Maintenance
Thin maturing plants to 25 cm apart.
The big outer leaves must be tied up (loosely) around the heart of the plant to blanch the center (or hearts).
This plant, with it’s shallow roots, will benefit from a feeding of fish emulsion in mid-summer.
Traditionally grown under cloches for really, really late crops
One of the things you have to take care with is rotting of the heart. Every second or third day, untie the wrapper leaves and check the heart for rotting. This uncovering allows excess moisture to escape and will go a long way toward preventing rot.
Endive tastes and acts like lettuce. The main difference is that it is more work with all that tying and untying and it is really heat tolerant where lettuce hates high growing temperatures.
This plant will stand upright in the garden right through the first light frosts and will take deeper frosts if mulched heavily. It will not survive a serious killing frost however.
The good news is that some folks believe Endive actually tastes better if lightly frosted.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm
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