Chicory Growing Guide

All you need to know to grow successfully!

Plant Family:
Asteraceae
Plant Type:
Perennial

Square Foot Spacing:

4
Typical Season:
Cool season
Typical Zones Grown In:
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Growing Difficulty:
Medium

Chicory is a leafy green vegetable that is related to endive and lettuce. It has a slightly bitter taste and is often used in salads or cooked as a vegetable. The leaves of chicory are elongated and can vary in color from green to red, depending on the variety. Chicory is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium, making it a healthy choice for any diet. In addition to being a nutritious food, chicory is also used as a coffee substitute and is believed to have some medicinal properties.

How to Grow Chicory Organically

  1. Choose a site: Chicory can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
  2. Planting: Sow chicory seeds directly into the garden in early spring or late summer. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows that are 18-24 inches apart. Thin the seedlings to 8-12 inches apart.
  3. Watering: Water the chicory plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged.
  4. Fertilizing: Fertilize the plants once a month with a balanced organic fertilizer.
  5. Pests and diseases: Chicory is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, you should keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, and snails.
  6. Harvesting: Harvest chicory leaves when they are young and tender, before they become too bitter. The outer leaves can be harvested as needed, or you can cut the whole plant at once.
  7. Storage: Store chicory leaves in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Planting Guidelines

The following are general guides to follow. However, nothing is set in stone. Feel free to experiment!

How to Start:
Direct Sow, Start Indoor
When to Direct Sow:
April, July, August
When to Start Indoors:
July, March, June
Sprouting Time:
2-15 days

Ideal Temperature (C):

10-22
Depth:
5mm (¼”)
Spacing (cm):
30-45cm (12-18″)
Row Spacing (cm):
30-45cm (12-18″)
Sun Exposure:
Part Shade, Full Sun
Maturity Time:
80-90
When To Harvest:
July, November, October, June
How to Harvest:
Use as a cut and come again crop or let the heads develop and cut at ground level. Many will grow back.

Health Benefits

Growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for your health. Let’s check out some of the health benefits!

Is It Edible?
Yes
Edible Parts:
Leaves, buds, roots
Potential Health Benefits:
Anti-Inflammatory, Prebiotic Fiber, Digestive System, Blood Sugar Control, Weight Loss

Tips to Growing Organically

Growing without the use of pesticides and herbicides is easier than you may think and it’s better for the environment!

Companion Plants:
Carrot, Onion , Fennel, Tomato
What Plants to Avoid:
Common Pests:
Aphids – Water can be used to remove aphids from plants. Wash the plant off with water occasionally as needed early in the day.
Common Disease:
Moulds and rot from heavy rains can be prevented by growing under cover. Tip burn is a calcium deficiency within the plant that can be caused by an imbalance with over nutrients. Make sure you have limed the soil, do not over-fertilize and harvest just before full maturity to avoid it.
Bonus Grow Tips:
Chicory is part of the dandelion family. You can use the root to make a coffee substitute to kick that habit. The chicory family includes the food plants endive and radicchio.

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