How to Grow Endive
Instructions for Growing Endive
in Your Vegetable Garden
Endive is a lovely salad vegetable (annual), with a slightly bitter taste, but that provides a nice bit of texture to a salad plate. Curly endive has a loose head with frilly leaves, and Escarole has broad thick leaves. Being similar to lettuce, endive has the same basic requirements, but is more tolerant of hot weather.
Gardening Tip For Growing Endive: Covering endive with straw for a couple of weeks (just before you harvest), will reduce this vegetable's bitterness. Or you can blanch them by pulling the outside leaves together over the heart of the plant, and tie the tips together (so the inside of the plant is covered by the outside). Leave tied up this way in your garden for 2 weeks before harvesting.
Endive provides: dietary fiber, chromium, potassium, copper, iron, manganese, vitamin E, A, C, K, magnesium, phospherous, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc
Endive will grow best in your garden as a cool season crop. Curly endive is the most cold tolerant. If you have a hot spell, try to shade these plants until the hot spell passes.
Grow endive in direct sun (but it will accept partial sun, if needed).
Growing endive requires garden soil with good drainage and that has been well worked. Prepare the gardening bed with compost and well-rotted manure, kept close to the surface (endive has shallow roots). Endive will grow best in soils that are slightly acidic with a pH of from 5 to 6. (Instructions: How to test your garden soil pH level.)
After the plants have started to establish themselves, mulch around them to even out soil temperatures, retain moisture and keep weeds down.
You can often do multiple plantings of this vegetable during a gardening season. For example, plant for an early spring crop, and for another in the fall.
If you’re planting seedlings, be sure to plant well before the temperatures get hot. (Heat makes endive bolt and go to seed.)
Water the garden bed where you plan to plant your endive seed. Plant your seeds shallowly - at 1/4" deep, in rows that are about 20" apart.
Germination normally takes up to 2 weeks. After the endive has been growing for 1 month in your garden, thin them so they're spaced 12” apart.(Use the thinned plants for a tender salad!)
The secret to growing endive is to water it regularly. Don't let the soil dry out.
NOTE: Do not water from above the plant, only at ground level. Otherwise, the water can get caught inside the vegetable's head and cause it to rot. (As a general gardening rule, overhead sprinklers are not the best irrigation choice for any plant. They waste so much water, and often spread plant diseases).
Several weeks before planting, dig in poultry manure and a complete fertilizer. No need for additional fertilizing.
When growing endive, you may find snails, aphids, and cutworms.
Gardening Tip for Growing Endive - Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.
Endive reaches maturity within 3 months. Harvest by cutting the head from the root at the soil level.