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Italian Dandelion Chicory - Key Growing Information
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). 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). For baby-leaf production of Italian Dandelion see the Baby Leaf Chicory culture.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From direct seeding; for days to maturity from transplant date, subtract 10–14 days.
TRANSPLANTING: Sow in flats 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. 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, ideally less than 10" tall.
DIRECT SEEDING: Sow seeds 1" apart in 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.
SUCCESSION PLANTING: Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply.
HARVEST: Pick at any stage of growth. Unharvested plants will eventually make a flower stalk with the characteristic blue chicory flowers. The flavor is bitter, with background sweetness.
AVG. SEEDING RATE: For single heads: 1 oz./1,900', 1 lb./acre at 12 seeds/ft. in rows 12-18" apart. 1M/20', 5M/100', 1 oz./285', 1 lb./4,600'.
TRANSPLANTS: Avg. 500 plants/1,000 seeds (2 seeds per cell, thinned to one seedling).
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/OZ: Avg. 19,650.
PACKET: 200 seeds, sows 14' bunching.