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This is how to easily grow chicory yourself!

Here's how to easily grow ground chicory yourself! They don't call chicory "white gold" for nothing.
Chicory is healthy, versatile & above all delicious, especially if you choose home-grown endives!
A bomb of flavour and also easy to grow yourself, even for "rookies in the kitchen garden" 😉.

Vegetable gardener Marcel takes you step by step through the cultivation process of this Belgian delicacy, from serving to harvesting.
Chicory with love! 💚

Getting started! 👨‍🌾

Step 1: choice of varieties

After harvesting, the chicory roots should rest for a while in a cooled room. Do you choose Bingo chicory roots? Then these have already received a two-week cold shock in the professional cold store after harvesting, and you can get straight to work after receiving them! 

The Manoline & Topscore roots come straight from the field, and you have to refrigerate them at home for another ten days or so before you can put them in. Personally, we recommend the Bingo variety for convenience!

Order your chicory roots here!

FYI: you can also use chicory seeds to grow your own chicory roots. However, sowing is a long & difficult process so we recommend you start with ready-to-plant chicory roots!

Step 2: planting

• Fill 1/3rd of the forcing tray or tub with a layer of seedling soil (about 10 cm).

Why use sowing soil? Chicory needs poor & somewhat acidic soil. Potting soil is full of fertilisers that should give your plants a boost. This is normally very good, but we don't want it for chicory. The chicory needs to grow slower so it can form nice closed heads! You can also add some peat to the soil. 

Tip from vegetable gardener Marcel: in addition to sowing and cutting soil, you can also use old soil from the flower box, but it must be airy!

 Moisten the soil with some water. For this forcing tray, we added about 1L of water. 

• Time to plant the chicory roots! Push the chicory roots into the soil but make sure there is still enough space at the top for the head to develop nicely. You may place the chicory roots fairly close together. Make sure they still have a bit of space left to grow! Afterwards, fill the holes with some more sowing soil so that the chicory roots are firmly secured in the container.

Viano seed & cutting soil 40 L
From €8.42
DCM peat 30L - Bio pure peat soil improver
€8.75

Step 3: do you choose to grow the chicory indoors or outdoors?

The easy thing about chicory is that you can grow it both indoors and outdoors, so you don't need to have a (vegetable) garden or greenhouse! So flat dwellers can also enjoy a home-grown harvest.

Do you grow it indoors (16-18°C)? Then you can serve your chicory after just 3 weeks! Note: do not increase the temperature to, say, 20°C to grow even faster, because then your chicory will not get firm heads!

Chicory can also be grown perfectly in the (vegetable) garden or greenhouse! But beware of frosty weather, because then the chicory roots in full soil need extra protection! Drape them in a bed of hay to keep them warm on cold winter nights. Never use plastic as this prevents the roots from breathing and causes them to rot! 

The golden rules for "the white gold"!

Growing chicory is foolproof provided you respect these three golden rules:

1. No light: screen the chicory from light to give it a nice pale colour. For this, we have a handy forcing tray with lid in our range! You can also place the chicory in a bucket in a dark room, such as the storeroom or cellar. Don't shade the chicory enough? Then you end up with chicory that tastes more bitter & that has a green color.

2. Not too hot: the optimum growing temperature for chicory is between 12°C and 18°C. Is the temperature higher? Then your chicory will grow too fast & you won't get nice stems. This is the most common problem when growing indoors.

3. Be careful with that watering can: make sure the chicory roots do get some water at the bottom of the roots but don't drown them!

Tip from kitchen gardener Marcel: place an inverted bottle or tube in the middle of the tub so the water can flow directly to the roots. Chicory is mould-sensitive so the water should not stay at the head of the root! Are you using a bucket or tub? Then make a few holes at the bottom so the excess water can drain away!

With these tips, harvest fresh chicory all winter long!

A forcing tray full of chicory stems is obviously a bit much to eat straight away, even with a large family!
Would you rather harvest smaller portions of chicory all winter long? Then we have some handy tips for you!

• At a temperature of between 1°C and 2°C, you can store the chicory roots for months before you have to put them away. That is handy! What is less handy is that the standard fridge is set at a temperature of 4°C to 6°C, so this is not obvious if you are not a professional grower. But no worries because we have another solution up our sleeve!

• Table the chicory in different locations with different temperatures (e.g. in the greenhouse, indoors, in the vegetable garden...). How quickly your chicory is ready for harvesting depends on the temperature. By planting the chicory heads in various locations, you can also harvest at various times. Chicory that has been given a nice warm spot indoors can be harvested after just 3 weeks, while in the (vegetable) garden it can take several months. So you are provided with a fresh harvest for a whole winter!

FAQ 🙋

• Help, my chicory carrots are rotten & smell funky!

You've been looking forward to it for so long and finally the time has come: your package of chicory roots has arrived! However, upon unpacking the box, you perceive an unpleasant smell 👃. We understand that this may make you think you've received bad or rotten chicory roots, but there's no need to panic just yet! That funky smell is usually a result of the foliage starting to die, and that's totally normal! Our vegetable expert Steven will be happy to tell you more about it 👇

• Why are chicory roots cut off?

That's simple: because they would have an even height to be easier to table in. That way, you will also be able to harvest more even heads.

• Can I cut off the green foliage? 

After harvesting, the chicory roots are given a cold shock in the cold store for a fortnight to pause growth. As soon as the roots feel the heat, they get a growth spurt & develop foliage. This is the green part you see at the top of the carrot. You can cut off the foliage but always leave 2 cm. Do you take away too much fern? Then you damage the growing point and the chicory will form leaves on the side, resulting in no nice closed heads...

• The chicory roots I received are smaller than expected? 

If you bought the chicory roots at the start of the season, this is perfectly normal! Often the first chicory roots are still a bit smaller (due to the dry summer). Don't worry because from a small root can grow an equally beautiful head as from a larger root!

Order you chicory roots now!

Have fun growing & above all, enjoy!