How to Grow Radicchio:

radicchio, growing radicchio in the garden, home grown radicchioRadicchio is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe.  It has been mainly popular in Italian cuisine, but other countries, like the Greeks and Egyptians, have used it for its medicinal qualities to help with insomnia and blood issues.

Also know as chicory and endive, radicchio is used in salads, and their roots are harvested to make a coffee substitute.  It is also popular in Europe to cook in some olive oil, which softens its taste. It was discovered in the nineteenth century that new plants would grow from the same roots, which are softer tasting, by cutting of the foliage and leaving the roots. It is quite pricey to buy radicchio in the store, so if you want to add this colorful plant into your cuisine, add it to your garden and reap the many benefits.

Planting and Growing Radicchio:

Radicchio, growing radicchio, how to grow radicchioIn the fall add a 1-inch (2.5 cm) layer of organic matter to the garden, and turn in with to the top 4 inches (10 cm) of soil.  Radicchio needs rich, loose soil, and repeating this each year will accomplish that.  It shouldn’t need additional fertilization unless the plants show signs of nutrient deficiency.

Radicchio can be started indoors 8 weeks before the last frost, or directly sown outdoors 2 weeks before the last frost.   It can also be sown outdoors 8 weeks before the first frost in late summer for a fall harvest.  Transplant seedlings or thin plants in a diamond pattern spaced 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) apart.  Radicchio is best planted in succession every two weeks, rather than planting all at once.

Although it is fairly easy to grow, it can rot in cold weather, or if it is too wet. Keep water even and moderate. It will not require any water during the winter months.

Harvesting and Preserving Radicchio:

The first crop of Radicchio is ready harvest when the head is firm.  Simply cut off the foliage about a fingers length above the neck. Keep it moist. It will produce new leaves that can be eaten as well. Radicchio does not store well, so use as soon as possible, or wrap in foil or paper and use within 1 month.

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