By Kathee Mierzejewski
If you are thinking about starting your vegetable garden, you might be asking yourself, “How do I grow endive?” Growing endive really isn’t too terribly difficult. Endive grows somewhat like lettuce because it is part of the lettuce family. It comes in two forms. The first form is a narrow-leaved variety called curly endive. The other is called escarole and has broader leaves. Both are great in salads.
Because endive grows like lettuce, it is best planted in early spring. You will want to start your early crop by growing endive in small pots or egg cartons in the beginning and leaving them in a greenhouse or warm, moist setting. This will give your endive a great start.
Endive lettuce (Cichorium endivia) grows best after having been started inside. When growing endive, you will transplant your tiny new plants after any danger of frost at the end of spring. You don’t want any frost as it will kill your new plants.
How to Grow Endive Lettuce
If you are lucky enough to have warm enough weather to plant from seed outdoors, plant your endive lettuce seeds at a rate of about ½ an ounce of seeds per 100 feet of row. Once they grow, you can then thin the plants to about one plant per six inches, and make sure the rows of endive lettuce are 18 inches apart.
If you are growing endive from seedlings you grew indoors or in a greenhouse, just make sure you plant them six inches apart from the get go. They will take root better this way, and make better plants.
Make sure that during the summertime, when the season tends to get dry, you water your growing endive regularly so that it maintains a good green leaf.
When to Harvest Endive Lettuce
When you have endive growing, you want to be sure to harvest the plants about 80 days after you plant them, and before the first frost. If you wait until after the first frost, the endive growing in your garden will already be ruined by the frost. If you pay attention to how long it has been since you planted the endive, you will find it should be ready to harvest about 80 to 90 days after you planted the seeds.
Now that you know how to grow your endive, you can plan on having some really nice salads late summer and early fall until your crop is done producing.