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How to Grow Radicchio - Italian Chicory

Radicchio is a gourmet vegetable. Also called Italian Chicory, this plant is native to Italy. Radicchio grows best in cool weather. In hot weather, the leaves can get very bitter.

There are both open leaf and heading varieties. Heading varieties are the most popular. Leaves are maroon or reddish in color, with white veins. Radicchio heads grow 3-5 inches across.

Radicchio adds color and taste to gourmet salads. It is also eaten raw with a little olive oil. It has a crisp, mildly bitter flavor, when it is allowed to mature in cool weather. It takes on a strongly bitter taste, when it matures in hot summer weather.

Propagation:

Radicchio is grown from seed. Directly sow Radicchio seeds into your vegetable garden early in the season. Or, start indoor transplants four to six weeks before planting outdoors in your garden.

Cover seeds very lightly with 1/8" or less of fine soil.

Germination Time: Seeds sprout in 7-14 days.

Final spacing should be eight inches apart in rows two feet apart.

How to Grow Radicchio Plants:

Radicchio is easy to grow. The plant grows best in full sun. In warmer weather, provide partial shade.

Grow Radicchio, quickly during cool weather, in moist, fertile soil. The soil should be rich, and drain well. Mix compost into the soil, prior to planting. Add fertilizer when planting.

Garden Tip: Dry soil will result in a bitter tasting leaf. Water frequently, but not deeply.

Weed around plants frequently during their early growth.

Plants thrive in cool weather. Plant crops for spring and fall. For a continuous harvest during this period, plant succession crops.

Radicchio plants withstand light frosts.

Also See:

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable

Harvesting:

Radicchio is ready to harvest in about 90 days.

Pick young, tender leaves. Larger leaves get tough and too bitter tasting. Leaves can also taste bitter in warmer weather. Eat fresh or cooked like spinach.

Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are uncommon with this plant. Insects do not like the bitter tate of the Radicchio plant.

Plant Problems

More Information:

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