Information

Latin Name: Cichorium intybus

Type:  Perennial

Growing

Zone: 3-9

Soil: well drained soil with plenty of organic matter.

Sun: Sunny if growing for roots; partial shade if for leaves, likes cool.

Companion Plants: “If you have established stands of perennial clover, you can always improve them by incorporating chicory into them with a no-till drill or by very lightly disturbing the soil with a disk harrow and broadcasting. Be careful not to do this during a drought or to disk too heavily, as you could damage your clover stand beyond repair. . . . Try to plant when rain is in the forecast. With rain, enough seed will find the exposed soil and furrows and take hold.” (Source)

Height: Possibly 5ft

Planting: Very similar to lettuces! “Seeds can be started indoors five to six weeks before they are moved outdoors. In warm climates, sowing outdoors or transplanting occurs September through March. Planting chicory in cooler climates should be done three to four weeks before the danger of frost has passed.” (Source)

Plant 6-10 inches apart, rows = 2-3 ft. apart.

performs best when temperatures are below 75 degrees F. (24 C.). Germination can take anywhere from 1-3 weeks.

Needs nitrogen!

Care

Pests: “Chicory is singularly free from pests and diseases, and slugs are the only problem you are likely to encounter.” (Source)

Water: “Water once a week to a 1-inch depth. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to keep the roots from rotting or growing too rapidly, which will result in a fibrous, bitter crop.” (Source)

Harvest

“For salads, harvest when the crowns are full and well colored. The darker the color, the more bitter the taste.”  (Source)

Use

Roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive.

Roots can be helpful for eliminating intestinal worms. Toxi for internal parasites. “Studies indicate that ingestion of chicory by farm animals results in reduction of worm burdens . . . It is variously used as a tonic and as a treatment for gallstones, gastroenteritis, sinus problems, and cuts and bruises. Chicory contains inulin, which may help humans with weight loss, constipation, improving bowel function, and general health. . . . The Cherokee use an infusion of the root as a tonic for nerves.” (Source)

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