Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Endive
Endive (Cichorium endivia)
Delicious, highly nutritious and attractive, endive is a member of the chicory family. A great addition raw to any salad, also delicious braised or steamed. Endive is tolerant of cool weather and has a green upright structure, which is prized for its tangy inner leaves.
Nutrients: very high in vitamins A, K and folate; vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and copper.
How to grow Endive from Seed
Endive is a very easy-to-grow lightly frost-tolerant annual that grows best in full sun, but will tolerate part shade. Pick a spot that receives at least 5 hours of sun a day. Endive greens grow most successfully in well-drained soil that is both rich in nutrients and moist.
Endive can tolerate temperatures as low as the 30s, but germinates in soils ranging from 60-70 F, making them ideal for fall plantings as well.Very easy-to-grow by direct seed in full sun or start plantings inside in early spring for earlier harvest. Planted from early spring to early summer and again from late summer through fall. Succession plantings every 2-3 weeks are recommended for a continual harvest.
Harvest young leaves at 35 days or the mature greens at 55.Harvest above growth point for cut-and-come-again production or thin for full head harvest.
How to save Endive Seeds
A self-pollinating biennial, Endives will often bolt to seed during the first season if exposed to cool temperatures and short days. Interestingly, endive is related to chicory, but cannot be crossed by chicory, though chicory can be crossed by endive. Endives will cross with each other though, so leave space between varieties. Allow plant to "bolt" and flower, you will know seeds are ready to harvest when yellow flowers dry to a white fluff. Use a small diameter screen to separate seed from chaff, or separate seeds by hand.