Italian Dandelion Chicory - Key Growing Information

A row of full-sized Italian dandelion plants in the field, with long, slender, deeply cut leaves.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Cichorium intybus
CULTURE:Italian dandelion is hardy and can be planted as early as the soil can be worked. It is a cool weather crop and grows best at temperatures of 60-65°F (15.5-18.3°C). Careful variety selection is important for hot weather plantings. Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh Italian dandelion.
THERMAL DORMANCY:Italian dandelion seed can enter thermal dormancy when exposed to high temperatures above 77°F (25°C). Optimum germination results at soil temperatures of 60-68°F (15.5-20°C).
TRANSPLANTING:Sow in flats, 4 seeds/in., or in ¾" plug trays, barely covering seeds with fine vermiculite, 3-4 weeks before transplanting outdoors. Shade the flats on sunny, warm days if necessary to keep the soil surface cool, below 75°F (24°C), until germination. If sowing into flats, transplant 1-2" apart into flats, pots, or cell-type containers about 2 weeks later. Harden seedlings by reducing water and temperature for 2-3 days before planting outdoors. Properly hardened transplants can survive temperatures as low as 20°F (-6°C). For full-size bunches, space 6-8" apart and clip leaves at any stage but especially when young, less than 10" tall.
DIRECT SEEDING:Seeds will germinate from 41-85°F (5-29°C), but the highest germination percentage will occur around 75°F (24°C), depending on the variety and seed lot. Sow seeds 1" apart, rows 12-18" apart. Cover seed lightly, about 1/8", and firm soil gently. Thin to 6-8" apart as soon as seedlings are large enough to handle. Dry soil must be watered to ensure coolness and moisture, and for uniform germination.
SALAD MIX/BABY LEAF:Sow in a 2-4" wide band, about 60 seeds/ft. Harvest in 4-5 weeks.
HARVEST:Unharvested plants will eventually make a flower stalk with the characteristic blue chicory flowers. The flavor is bitter, with background sweetness. Pick at any stage of growth.
DAYS TO MATURITY:From direct seeding; subtract 10-14 days if transplanting.
AVG. DIRECT SEEDING RATE:For single heads: 1 oz./1,900', 1 lb./acre at 12 seeds/ft. in rows 18" apart. For baby leaf: Sow in 2-4" wide bands, 4 seeds/in., 1M/20', 5M/100', 1 oz./285', 1 lb./4,600'.
TRANSPLANTS:500 plants/M (2 seeds per cell thinned to one seedling).
SEED SPECS:SEEDS/OZ: Avg. 19,650).
PACKET:200 seeds, sows 14' full size and 4' baby leaf.