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Cultivating chicory is quite complex, but not difficult. To enjoy the vitamin-rich winter salad, you only have to observe a few basic rules for cultivation.
Nowadays you hardly see chicory growing in a garden. The reason for this is very simple: growing chicory is a bit difficult. Nevertheless, there is no reason to completely stay away from it and to do without chicory. You just have to be patient, then it will also work with the chicory cultivation. Once you've done it, you've surely got the hang of it.
How to properly grow chicory
❶ Prepare the floor:
Grow your chicory in a partially shaded to full sun location. The more sunlight the plants get, the better they thrive. The soil should be fresh and loose and provide an adequate supply of nutrients. With the addition of fresh compost before sowing, you create the best conditions for abundant growth.
❷ Sowing chicory:
Sow chicory mid to late May. Maintain a row spacing of around 30 centimeters and a sowing depth of 2 to 3 centimeters. Moisten the soil regularly after sowing, but don't overdo it. The seeds must not swim in standing water.
❸ Separate and care for chicory:
Around four weeks after sowing, the chicory is large and strong enough to be separated. You can sort out miserable or sickly specimens straight away. The distance between the healthy plants must be at least 10 centimeters. You will need to water the chicory regularly over the coming months. Standing wetness should be avoided as well as permanent dryness.
If you enriched the soil with compost or another nutrient-rich substrate in the spring, additional additions of fertilizer are not absolutely necessary. In summer, however, the chicory is happy to accept a moderate supply of horn shavings. Horn meal is even better.
❹ Pull out the roots and let them lie:
Pull the roots out of the ground in the fall. It is advisable to proceed in stages from mid-September to mid-November. The advantage: in winter you can harvest chicory for a full two months. Then leave the roots above the ground for a few days so that the nutrients have time to withdraw from the leaves into the roots. After a week at the latest, cut the leaves off with a sharp knife.
❺ Driving and harvesting chicory:
Fill a bucket or a plastic tub with garden soil and put the roots in it. The intersections of the leaves must look a little above. Then move the tub to an absolutely dark place with temperatures between 12 and 18 ° C. Keep the substrate moist over the next 22 to 28 days. During this time, the roots sprout again and provide you with the freshly harvested chicory. You can see what it looks like here: