Witloof chicory, or French endive, is
grown for both roots and tops. It is a hardy plant, not especially
sensitive to heat or cold. It does, however, need a deep, rich,
loamy soil without too much organic matter.
The tops are sometimes
harvested while young. The roots are lifted in autumn and placed
in a box or bed of moist soil in a warm cellar for forcing. They
must be covered with a few inches of sand. Under this covering the
leaves form in a solid head, known on the market as witloof.
The culture of chicory is simple. Sow the seeds in spring or
early summer in drills about 18 inches apart. Later, thin the
plants to 6 or 8 inches apart in the rows. If sown too early the
plants shoot to seed and are worthless for forcing. The kind known
as witloof is most generally used.
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