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Growing Endive, Planting, Care, Harvesting – A Full Guide

Growing Endive in the backyard

Today, we discuss the topic of growing Endive, planting methods, plant care and harvesting procedure in the backyard of the home garden.

Endive which is scientifically termed as Cichorium indicia are the plants which have a buttery and bitter taste. These are mostly used in the ornamental gardens and also as greens used for salads. These can be grown in an easy manner from seeds in a soil which is well-drained and also under full sun. Endive is the one which will be able to survive when kept in the climatic conditions which are cooler and will also require a very very good amount of moisture for keeping them in a healthy way. The endive leaves or the endive heads which are grown fully can be harvested at the end of their season of growing.

Endive is the one which is frequently described as a leafy vegetable which will be available in flat-leaf varieties or curly varieties, but this is a half-truth. To be more clear, endive is a type of plant which will have curly leaves and escarole is the one which is having large leaves which are flatter. Endive belongs to the family of Asteraceae and is a native to Asia minor. This is almost very similar to Chicory, Belgian endive, and radicchio. Frisee is one of the smaller varieties of Endive with its leaves lacy and fine. Growing Chicory will also be similar to Endive. Many people have questions about what is endive lettuce, endive recipes, growing endive in the garden. In this article, we will discuss how to grow endive in the backyard garden.

Preparation of soil for growing Endive plants:

Soil Preparation for Endives.

Read: How to grow Spinach Hydroponically.

  • Endive plants are the ones which will be able to survive in a location which receives full sunlight but they are the type of plants which would be able to tolerate even the partial shade mainly in the climatic conditions which are warmer. The endive plants will anyways struggle if they are planted in a place which has full shade. Always make sure that you are selecting a spot in your backyard garden which does not consist of any sort of obstructions which will block the sunlight from reaching the Endive plants.
  • Generally, full sun will mean that the endive plants should receive sunlight directly for at least 6 to 8 hours per day. Whereas the partial shade means the sunlight can be received by the endive plants for at least 4 hours in a day without any sort of obstructions.
  • Weeds are the ones which cause a lot of harm to your endive plants which you are growing in the backyard as they will drain the soil of the resources like nutrients and also moisture by competing with the plants. So always make sure that you are removing the weeds in a gentle way by tugging them out of the ground level when you see that the soil is in a moist condition. For the weeds which look stubborn, you will need to make use of a garden trowel for digging the root systems.
  • Make sure that you are not forgetting to wear the gardening gloves for the protection of your hands at the time of weeding.
  • If you see that the weeds which are present in your backyard garden closer to the endive plants are completely out of control to remove them manually by making use of hands, you can also take into consideration the usage of a herbicide as a last option to kill the root system of the weeds. Always make sure that you are using the herbicide in a moderate way so that they will not cause any harm to your plants. Also, use a herbicide which will be used for gardens which are meant for growing food.
  • Endive is the plant which will grow at its best in a soil which is well-drained. The soil has to be aerated by adding any material which is organic like perlite, compost or vermiculite to it. Also, make sure that you are using a gardening rake or a shovel for loosening the above 8 inches of the soil. After that, add at least 2 inches of the material which is used for amendment of the soil and also add it into the soil in a uniform manner.
  • Endive is the one which will grow its best in the soil which has the level of pH in between 5 to 7. You can also take into consideration the purchase of fertilizer has a rich content of nitrogen in it and add it into the soil surface so that the level of pH can be increased. If you want to decrease the level of pH of the soil, you can add elemental sulfur to it. This elemental sulfur has to be added to the soil prior to two months of the plantation of anything in your backyard so that it will be taking its time for showing its effect.
  • Also, you can take into consideration the usage of the above-ground beds along with the potting soil medium if you see that the soil in your backyard is not suitable for the growth of endive plants. It would be very easy to add to the soil you have instead of adjusting the soil pH to fulfill your soil requirements.
  • Buy a Soil pH test kit from a garden center. This can also be purchased online and this is used for the assessment of the soil in which you are planting something edible.

Read: How to Grow Microgreens indoors.

Plantation of Endive seeds:

  • Endive plants will also survive in the climatic conditions which are cooler. In order to get the best of the results, you can start a plantation at the end of the winter or at the early time of the spring. The plantation of the seeds has to be done prior to 3 weeks before the date you are expecting your last frost to take place.
  • With this timeline, the seedlings which come up will have cooler climatic conditions and they will not undergo any sort of suffering like damage due to too much cold. Transplantation of the endive plants to the outdoor location has to done at least a month before the last frost takes place.
  • If you have chosen the plantation of seeds much early than this, then you will need to germinate the seeds in the indoor locations for the protection of the seeds from the environmental conditions which are cold.
  • The seeds of the endive have to be scattered by making use of the hands in an even manner in rows at the top of the soil surface. Always make sure that you are maintaining a distance of at least 20 inches in between each and every row. This will help in the accommodation of space to the endive which is grown fully.
  • The seeds of the endive are very thin. So make sure that you are distributing them in a thin layer so that you can avoid planting too much.
  • Also, make sure that you are scattering the soil to a thin layer over the seeds of endive. By doing this, it will be adding a thin layer of protection from any kind of birds which may take away the seeds after the plantation is done. Also, make sure that you are not adding mulch more than ¼ inch of the surface of the soil. This might make it difficult for the seeds to undergo the process of germination.
  • After the plantation of seeds is completed, the soil has to be watered in a very light manner. You can also make use of a watering can to disperse water over the endive seed rows in a gentle manner. The soil has to be dampened, but make sure that you are not saturating it.

Read: Types of Grow Lights and Their Importance.

Thinning of the Endive seedlings:

  • It will take almost a week for the seeds of endive to complete the process of germination after the plantation. Always remember that not all of the endive seeds you have planted in your backyard will grow in a successful manner. Always monitor your backyard garden for the seedlings which are emerging all the time.
  • Make use of your fingers to loosen the soil in a gentle manner around each endive plant. After that, start digging up to 4 inches down and then lift the soil for making sure that you have removed each and every plant along with its complete root system.
  • As an alternative, you can also go ahead and remove the seedlings which are weaker till they have a very good amount of space in between them for the growth.
  • Always be very careful while you are removing the seedlings from the level of ground so that you can avoid damaging the roots.
  • If the plants of endive are left very close to each other, there is a chance that they will compete for the resources which are provided and this will result in a harvest which is unsuccessful. Holes have to be dug sufficiently deep for the accommodation of the root system of the seedlings. After that, place the endive plants in the holes in a gentle manner and the roots have to be surrounded with the soil.
  • The rows of the seedlings of endive should be maintained at a distance of a minimum of 20 inches.

Care and Maintenance of Endive plants:

Endive plants are the ones which will require a much amount of moisture in order to grow in a proper manner. The plants have to be given water for every few days as they need so that the soil will be kept moist and it can also be prevented from getting dried out. Always make sure that you are pouring water around the base of the plants and not on the leaves as watering the endive leaves will not only cause rotting to them, but it will make the plants kill themselves gradually.

Harvesting Endive:

  • You can also start using your endive plants once they have reached the age of one month if you wish to do so. Pull away the leaves of endive in a gentle manner where they join at the plant’s base. To remove them in an easy manner, you can make use of scissors which are small and also sharp.
  • The leaves of the plants of endive should be of length 3 inches at this point of time.
  • The leaves have to be rinsed in a thorough manner before you start eating them.
  • The endive plants which are matured will have a flavor which is bitter and is not at all appealing to some people. In order to get a mild flavor, you will need to start blanching the endive plants for about 15 days before you decide to harvest them. This will include covering each endive plant’s heart from sunlight to reduce the production of chlorophyll by
    • Tying the leaves of the endive plants which are present in the outer part together by making use of rubber bands to block the sunlight. Make sure that you are not wetting the plants which will lead to the rotting of the endive leaves.
    • Keeping a flower pot in an upside-down direction on each and every endive plant.
    • Creating a shelter by placing a wooden board over the supports which comes directly above the endive plants.

Read: How to Grow Asparagus in the Home Garden.

Endive Salad.
Endive Salad.
  • Endive plants are the ones which will reach the stage of maturity after 3 months of the first plantation. Make use of a serrated knife which is large for cutting the base of each and every endive plant which are located just above the ground level. Support the top of the endive heads when you are doing this so that you can make sure that the cuts are happening in a uniform manner.
  • The leaves which are new have to grow on the base which is remaining after about 15 days.
  • The regrowth of the endive will take place until the temperature will cross 21°C which caused bolting or until the temperature drops down below the freezing point.

That’s all folks about Endive Growing Techniques, Tips and Ideas. keep gardening!.

Read: How to Grow Organic Ginger.


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