Gardening Articles


A biennial member of the chicory family, endive quickly puts down a deep taproot and is naturally able to grow through prolonged drought. Because endive remains bitter until cold weather, it doesn't matter if it grows slowly through summer, just so long as rapid

leaf production resumes in autumn. _Sowing date:_ On irrigated raised beds endive is sown around August 1 and heads by mid-October. The problem with dry-gardened endive is that if it is spring sown during days of increasing daylength when germination of shallow-sown small seed is a snap, it will bolt prematurely. The crucial moment seems to be about June 1. April/May sowings bolt in July/August,: after June 1, bolting won't happen until the next spring, but germination won't happen without watering. One solution is soaking the seeds overnight, rinsing them frequently until they begin to sprout, and fluid drilling them. _Spacing:_ The heads become huge when started in June. Sow in rows 4 feet apart and thin gradually until the rosettes are 3 inches in diameter, then thin to 18 inches apart. _Irrigation:_ Without a drop of moisture the plants, even as tiny seedlings, will grow steadily but slowly all summer, as long as no other crop is invading their root zone. The only time I had trouble was when the endive row was too close to an aggressive row of yellow crookneck squash. About August, the squash roots began invading the endive's territory and the endive got wilty. A light side-dressing of complete organic fertilizer or compost in late September will grow the hugest plants imaginable. _Varieties:_ Curly types seem more tolerant to rain and frost during winter than broad-leaf Batavian varieties. I prefer President (TSC).

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