|CICHORIUM intybus - Chicory|
Asteraceae; native to the Mediterranean.
Germination: Sow seeds outdoors in early to mid-spring in 1/4 inch deep rows 18 inches apart. Seeds may also be started indoors, at a temperature of 70°. Expect germination in 7-14 days.
Growth: Space 6 inches apart in full sun and a rich, well-drained soil. Fertilize prior to planting and again every 3-4 weeks. Keep well watered.
Appearance and Use: This lettuce-like plant has oblong basal leaves and 31/2- 5 inch stems which bear blue daisy-like flowers from June to frost. It is best grown as an annual as it can become weedy. The roots are often used as a coffee substitute. Chicory can be used as a salad plant as-is, but is usually grown to produce Witloof. Witloof is a whitish head of young chicory leaves produced by depriving the plant of light. Dig roots after first frost, cut the tops off 2 inches above the crown, and the roots to 6-9 inches in length. Store in a cool place, and force at 60-70°, setting roots upright in a box and covered with moist sand. In about 1 month the tops will be produced and ready for harvesting.
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