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(Genus: Cichorium endivia latifolium, C. endivia crispum - Family: Asteraceae)
Endive and its origins
Endive is from the chicory genus and is a native of the Mediterranean region and Greek islands.
There are two varieties in existence: the classic crispum, known as the curly or fringed frisee endive which has delicately serrated, slightly curling leaves and the second type is latifolium also called escarole, an upright variety with large broad leaves.
How to Plant Endive
Endives are hardy and enjoy a temperate climate that verges on being slightly colder. The soil should be moist as they will not survive in a dry soil. For germination to take place, the soil needs to be above 15oC but the plant will thrive in temperatures that are in the low twenties.
Plant between March and May, or alternatively from July to September, if planting indoors or in a protected seedbed. If sowing directly outdoors, plant between April and September when there is no further threat of frost.
Transplant Endive from the seedbed 30-40 days after germination, when the shoots are approximately 10cm and have 5-6 leaves. Plant the seedlings in rows, ensuring that they have plenty of space to grow. Approximately, 25-30cm apart and the rows should be 40-50cm apart.
The soil should be rich in humus, well-drained and have a slightly acidic PH. Fertilise before sowing or transplanting with xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx (xg/m²). Alternatively, when foliage appears, use xx-xx g/m² of xxxxx xxxx, immediate-release fertiliser.
When to harvest Endive
Endive should be harvested 80-120 days after planting, usually between September and March. Harvest when the heads have reached the desired size for use. Cut the base with a knife and then they can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Endives are sometimes considered tricky to grow as they need to be “blanched” or “whitened” before harvesting, which is a process encouraging the white central leaf growth which is the most tender, clear and sweetest part of the plant. Check the leaves are completely dry before starting and tie the leaves with raffia, covering the head with a dark plastic wrap, ten days before harvest.
Did you know
Endive is a great source of vitamin A and C, in addition to iron, calcium and phosphorus. It is typically used in salads, as you would a lettuce leaf. The calorific content is very low and so, ideal for someone on a calorie controlled diet.
Diseases and pests affecting Endive growth
Aphids, White fly, European corn borer, Black cutworm and leaf terricolous, Click-beetles, Leafminer, Mole crickets, Daddy longlegs and mites, Powdery mildew, Downy mildew, Rust, Grey mould, Rizoctonia, Black lung, Sclerotinia, Pythium, Alternaria and bacterial