Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Radicchio is a perrenial?

Yet another vegetable that requires its own little patch. To plant only occasionally is to make time for more tending (read weeding) of the other plants... oh and to spend more time smelling (or eating) the flowers.
Anyhow, it turns out that chicories, such as radicchio, are perrenial.

Or at least so I have been led to believe by this post on garden web . So I hit google and started searching. The evidence was mounting. The living herbs catalogue has red trevisso radicchio listed as a annual/perrenial. Not sure why the either or but hey, I continued to look. Yet another site makes a distinction in chicories by stating that radicchio is perrenial. It also says that chicories are annual and while this seems to be true of endive, I think a lot of sorting out needs to be done when it comes to the names of these things. Certainly common chicory whose pretty blue flowers cover waste sites and ditches are perrenial.

The site that convinced me was Floridata which stated that radicchio and chicory are hardy perrenials from zones 4-9 (American zones). I fit into that catagory and with a little help from mulch and perhaps some sort of cold frame rigged up, I think that they should survive the winter. We'll have to give it a try.

By the way, there are a dizzying number of chicory varities which I am trying to sort out, this is what I know:
  1. red / cream heading: radicchio
  2. green heading: sugarloaf
  3. long leaf : italian dandelion, sword chicory, Puntarelle, Catalogna
  4. thick stemmed: asparagus chicory
  5. round leaf, cutting chicory: small leafed varities for salad greens
  6. forcing: belgian endive, french endive, witloof
  7. loose heads: curly endive, escarole, batavian endive, commonly blanched, frisee
  8. root: common chicory whose root is used as a coffe substitute or additive

Did that straighten it out for you? No, I'm not surprised. Stay tuned for more as I untangle the story on chicory.

By the way, why you ask am I so interested in this salad ammendment? It is a cold tolerant plant which can overwinter if wrapped up in a cold frame or polytunnel, or both, depending on what climate you live in. Hey, it might just live outside if you are lucky enough to have mild winters. Cold tolerance is pretty exciting but add perrenial and I want to know more.

Part two



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