Endive & Escarole

(Cichorium endivia) A long appreciated European delicacy, these crops add a lightly bitter piquancy to salads. All are best grown in rich soil and cooler weather; in most of the country, this makes them best suited to the fall garden. Grown in about the same way as lettuce, endive and escarole are sown in mid-summer to mature in cool autumn weather. Germination may be improved by starting seeds indoors, sheltered from the intense summer heat. Do not let young seedlings become root bound. Set plants into the garden when they've reached a convenient size. Some gardeners tie the outer leaves around the inner heart to blanch, which makes the crop milder; other folks prefer the slight bitterness as a counterpoint in their salads. These crops prefer rich, well-drained soil. Surface sow seeds and rake in lightly, barely covering the seeds. Seeds will usually germinate quickly if kept very moist. Ideal germination temperature is 70F but they can germinate in soil temps down to the 40s. Sow early or late for a spring or fall harvest, so that it matures in cooler weather. Space plants 12 inches apart. Rich, moist soil with lots of organic matter is ideal. Escarole and frisee, any open-leafy types, are the easiest to grow. To achieve the tight heads of endive you will need to either grow them in an optimal temperature, or dig them up and force them in the dark. There are many online tutorials about how to force endive.

COOK IT! Endive and Escarole Recipes HERE

GROW IT! Endive and Escarole Growing Tips HERE

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