Radicchio is a perennial leafy salad green, also known as Italian chicory, red chicory or red endive. It usually has variegated deep red - maroon or red and green leaves with contrasting white veins, however there are varieties which are either white or yellow. The best flavor and strongest color comes from growing radicchio in cool temperatures.
It has strong tasting leaves that can be noticeably bitter when eaten raw, which is the most common way to use radicchio. The flavor mellows and loses some of its bitterness when cooked.
Radicchio is grown very similar to that of lettuce, but looks more like a cabbage. Some varieties have a round head and others grow more elongated (torpedo-shaped) in appearance. The heads can also vary from a tight forming head to the leaf type.
Radicchio is classed as a perennial because the head will regenerate, several times, if cut off carefully above ground level. The regenerating head will need some sort of protection against severe frosts, this can be in the form of upturned pot or container, or a heavy mulch, as shown in the photo.
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Cutting radicchio to allow new head to regrow. A heavy mulch of straw ready to cover the stump for frost protection.
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A brand new head of radicchio pushing its way through the straw mulch.
|Veggie Garden Dairy|
|Vegetable||Organic Early Treviso Chicory - Radicchio|
|Also Known As||Italian chicory, Red chicory|
|Botanical||Family: Asteraceae, Genus: Cichorium, Species: C. intybus|
|Plant Type||Cool season - perennial - leafy vegetable|
|Planting Position||Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - growing radicchio requires a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.|
|Seed Viability||5 years|
|Germination||7-10 days at 40-80 F (4-27 C)|
|Growing Temp||50-70 F (10-21 C)|
|Seed to Transplant||4-6 weeks|
|Planting Method||Direct sow or Seedling transplants|
|When to Plant||Spring and again in mid-summer for fall-winter harvest|
|Time to Plant||As soon as 2 - 4 weeks before the average date of the last 32 F (0 C) freeze in the spring in your area but not before soil temperatures are consistently 40 F (4 C) and above.|
|Seed Sowing||Direct sowing radicchio seeds - 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep - 1-2 inches (25-50 mm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart|
|Plant Spacing||Transplant or thin radicchio seedlings to 12-15 inches (30-38 cm) apart in rows 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart|
|Soil Conditions||Well drained - Moderate to high organic matter - Low to medium fertility|
|Fertilizer||Low fertilizer needs, 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer , same rate for each side dressing.|
|When to Fertilize||2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks|
|Days to Harvest||70-90 days - depending on conditions and variety.|