Witloof Chicory, Belgian Endive or White Endive
60 to 160 days — Traditionally 'Witloof' chicory is used as a forcing variety but is also quite fine when grown as a standard salad green. It originated in Belgium in the mid-1800s. Witloof is Flemish for "white leaf."
Sow seeds in late spring, either in flats or directly into a well prepared bed with rich soil. Transplant or thin to a final spacing of ten to twelve inches. Water and weed then throughout the summer and fall. To create the signature blanched, white heads, the roots are lifted (dug) in late fall, usually in early November. At this stage, they should be close to two inches in diameter. The leaves are then all trimmed off to about one and a half inches from the crown. The inner leaves and heart are tender enough to be harvested and used in salads.
The roots are then sorted for health and suitability. If they have divided, they are discarded. Side shoots on the roots are pinched off and the overall length shortened to eight to ten inches. In some areas the roots can be replanting into the gardens and heavily mulched. For more control, they are placed in moist sand in a dark, warm place and allowed to grow until the leaves are four to six inches tall.
Each packet contains one gram, which is approximately 450 seeds.