The Cichorium intybus is a very resistant plant, in fact it is adopted both in the cold and at high temperatures. The soil must be prepared with a deep spacing during which it is advisable to bury about 2 kg of manure for each square meter of cultivated land. Before sowing it is also useful to make a good mineral fertilization, while during the growth you can distribute 10/15 grams of calcium nitrate for each square meter.
LA CICORIA IN BREVE
Type of plant
Caducous leaf tree
Height at maturity
From 15 to 60 cm
Ease of cultivation
Normal to slow depending on period
Seed, replanting of roots
Distance between rows
Distance on the row
Not demanding, not too much clay or stone.
Well seasoned fertilizer
Germination: days, minimum temperature
- Name: Cichorium intybus L.Harvest: The leaves before flowering, the roots at the end.Properties: Purifying, tonic, digestive, laxative, choleretic.Family: Composite.Names common to all…
- A herbaceous plant with celestial flowers, chicory belongs to the Asteraceae family. The chicory plant can reach a height of one and a half meters and its flowers are pentamerous, hermaphrodite …
- Chicory has beneficial effects on the stimulation of the nervous and digestive systems.
It helps to concentrate and stimulates mental capacities. It contains potassium, calcium and iron and is used as a medicinal…
- Chicory needs to be watered quite regularly and, if possible, in the very first hours of the morning so that the water has all the time necessary for a correct watering.
Multiplication is by seed, and sowing must be carried out at different times depending on the variety. Cutting varieties can be sown at any time of the year, except in winter, root varieties from April/May to August, and forced varieties from mid-June to the end of August.
Sowing must be carried out either by sowing or in rows about half a metre apart, after which the seedlings must be thinned out at a distance of about 20 cm. However, the chicories to be forced are usually sown in seedbeds and the plants must be transplanted after 40 days at a distance of about 25 cm from each other.
Forcing is a technique that makes it possible to obtain compact and crisp heads of leaves. Sowing takes place in spring, so in autumn you have small plants but equipped with a very robust root system. With a knife, the roots are removed and placed in a box over a layer of manure of about 25 cm and covered with moist soil. After about a month, the white tufts of leaves appear at the top of the roots. A typical chicory to be forced is the “Brussels chicory”.
Characteristics of chicory
The name chicory actually identifies a rather large botanical genus belonging to the Asteraceae family. 6 to 9 species belong to this genus, two of which are the base of the cultivated salads. It is also worth remembering the typically Italian varieties, prerogative of the North-East, generally identified with the name of radicchio.
In general, it is a herbaceous plant endemic to Europe, Asia and Africa. The species is very common along the edges of the roads or in the fields left to rest fallow, where it stands out for its beautiful flowers of an intense blue.
Its general appearance is very similar to that of lettuce, but cultivation is considerably easier, even if growth is generally slower.
The varieties are distinguished by the colour of the leaves, the time of ripening and the way in which they are harvested (by head or by cutting). It should also be noted that there are many varieties whose greatest value lies in the root, an important source of inulin. This same root, roasted and ground, is still used today as a coffee substitute.
History of chicory
Wild chicory has been eaten since ancient times and evidence of this has been found as a salad already in the Egyptian civilization. Among the Greeks and Romans, instead, the root was more appreciated: it was cooked on the grill and was particularly taken into account for its digestive qualities. It was also attributed with medicinal properties, as a powerful purifier, especially in herbal teas and infusions.
In the Middle Ages it was very common in the vegetable gardens inside the walls of the castles and in the convents. It was probably in this context that the best varieties were selected, characterized by larger leaves and a less bitter taste. From the Renaissance onwards, the majority of the leaves were eaten in salads.
In the southern regions they were almost always used raw, in the north it was more common to cook them, using them both as a side dish and as a condiment for first courses or soups.
At the end of the 1700’s, in conjunction with some import blocks imposed by the English on Napoleon, the habit of roasting the roots to obtain an inexpensive coffee spread, a habit that was maintained among the population until the end of the Second World War.
Climate and exposure
Cultivated chicories have the peculiarity to resist very well to low temperatures and also to the lack of rains. A sunny position is highly recommended for winter cultivation. From spring onwards, however, it also enjoys slightly more protected exposures.
They are extremely adaptable plants and grow well in a wide variety of soils. Only those with excessive pebbles should be avoided, or those that are extremely clayey and compact, to the point of being an extreme obstacle to the draining of water. In the latter case, dangerous rottenness could occur at the root or collar level and it is therefore advisable, before planting, to work to improve both drainage and texture.
Chicories are characterized by bulky roots, which grow vigorously, especially downwards. To obtain good results it is therefore essential to work the area very carefully, eating or plowing at least up to 40 cm deep, breaking up the clods well and incorporating good amounts of very seasoned organic soil improver.
It is also important to ensure that the surface layer is perfectly refined. Chicory seeds are very small and need a well-tended bed to germinate and root.
The need for nitrogen for chicory is very limited. On the contrary, we can say that they are particularly sensitive to the presence of not perfectly mature compost or manure. It is therefore important, before distributing them in the area, to make sure that they are perfectly decomposed and, in particular for the manure, that the straw is indistinguishable from the manure.
Generally speaking, 2 to 4 quintals of product per 100 square metres of crop are sufficient for the sole purpose of improving the texture of the soil. The ideal would be to distribute them before the previous cultivation so that they are well incorporated and further disintegrated.
Chicory is not very demanding in terms of irrigation. During the winter and spring, make sure that the soil never dries completely. From spring to mid-autumn, more irrigation will take place, but it is advisable to prepare a thick mulch of straw, leaves or rubble so that the interventions are reduced and the substrate remains cool for longer. It is essential to avoid wetting the leaves as this is the main cause of the onset of cryptogams.
The ideal solution is always to provide drip-wing or porous-tube irrigation systems.
The sowing technique used varies considerably depending on the variety chosen.
Cutting chicories are the most resistant varieties to both low and high temperatures. It can be done throughout the year, avoiding, in the North, only the months of December and January. It is sown directly on the ground, in rows or by sowing. The rows should be spaced 15 cm apart, leaving one seed for every 5. Generally, 20 g of seed per 100 square metres of cultivation is sufficient.
Once the plants have reached a height of 10 cm, they will be thinned, leaving about 15 cm between one individual and another.
Head chicory is a very large group that includes both green-leaved varieties, more spring-summer, and red-leaved varieties, typically winter. The first ones are sown from March to October, the others in mid-summer. You can choose to do it in the seedbed or directly at home. The first option allows you to save some seed. For the spacing between and in the rows, the same as for cutting chicory should be followed.
Chicory from roots these varieties should be sown directly in the field as transplantation could seriously damage the taproot. Depending on the cultivar, this is done at the end of the winter (e.g. for Brussels chicory) or throughout the spring (Magdeburg chicory).
In any case, for a family garden, it is always advisable to carry out seeding every 15 days so as to always have product ready for harvesting and avoid waste.
LA CICORIA IN BREVE
February to November (in the South all year round)
From March to August, depending on the variety
From March to October
About two to three months from sowing, up to 5 to 6 times a year
About two to three months later
From October-November until February-March
From autumn to spring
These horticules must be followed with a certain regularity. Frequent hoeing and weeding is essential both to make the soil more airy and permeable and to avoid the onset of weeds. However, you must be very careful near the foot because the superficial roots are very easily damaged and could then be the cause of penetration of pathogens.
Some varieties, particularly radicchio, need to be whitened to become softer and less bitter. The plants are grubbed up at the end of autumn with the help of a pitchfork. They should then be cleaned by removing all the soil (which could cause rottenness). The leaves and roots should be trimmed. Then they are placed next to each other in a wooden box filled with an equal mixture of soil and sand, then slightly moistened.
They should be placed in a dark room and gently heated for about ten days.
Like all salads, it should be consumed as quickly as possible. However, you can keep it in the fridge for up to five days in the vegetable compartment.
Approximations and associations
Chicory can be found in the company of many other vegetables. Ideally, they should be placed close to tomatoes, beans, lettuces and carrots. Their cultivation should be repeated several times in the same plot without encountering serious problems.
The leaves are usually attacked by aphids, snails and snails, while the roots are fed by the larvae of the cockchafers and the grillotalpa. In particular climatic conditions, these plants can be affected by rottenness of both roots and leaves, avoid spraying the plants during the hottest hours and prefer well dissolved soils, in case of attack, and it is advisable to treat the plants with sulphur-based products.
The main enemies of this vegetable include snails, cockchafers, grillotalps, aphids and nocturnal birds.
The downy mildew is very dangerous and manifests itself with yellowing and discoloured spots. Oidium and grey mould are also quite frequent.
Chicory – Cichorium intybus: Varieties
There are so many varieties. Among the green head varieties we can mention the chicory of Brussels, the Catalonia of Brindisi and the Venetian one, from which we get the puntarelle and the riccia of Pancalieri,. Also well known is the Sugar loaf, extremely crispy and sweet, which does not need to be bleached.
There are numerous chicory varieties: from Verona, Treviso, Chioggia and Castelfranco.
- Chicory is a perennial herbaceous plant present throughout the world that can reach a height of one meter and a half.
visits : cichorium intybus