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Forcing Chicory – Part 1

It dug up my Chicory plants yesterday and put them in storage in preparation for forcing them later on. The plants were getting quite large but it’s best to lift them at this time of year before the frosts get to them.

I lifted about seven or eight but not all of them were big enough to use. They need to be between 2.5cm and 5cm wide at the crown. Any smaller and they won’t produce good chicons (the pearly white chicory that has that lovely subtle, bitter taste). Any bigger and they might produce two smaller heads instead of one large one.

I cut off the green tops and filled a box with wet sand. Then laid about six out, making sure they were not touching each other. And finally covered them with more sand and stored them in my dry, frost-free shed. I also made sure to put a wooden tag in the sand to remind me what was in there. I’m storing carrots too so I don’t want to get them mixed up!

Part 2 comes in Feb when I’ll be digging them up and forcing them in pots.

I’m so excited about doing this. Every year I try to do something in the garden that I’ve never done before. Well, otherwise I get a bit bored to be honest. Last year it was growing Seakale which I did without a hitch (although I’ve yet to force it). This year it’s Chicory.

I do grow things year on year and I’m happy when I know exactly what I’m doing with a certain vegetable or fruit but the excitement comes from learning a new technique and figuring out how to do it well.

I’m not sure if I’ll produce any edible Chicory from these. But if I don’t I will spend many a happy hour figuring out how to do it next year!

6 Responses to “Forcing Chicory – Part 1”

  1. Carolynon 02 Nov 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I haven’t tried storing produce in this way as I never know what sort of sand to use – or does it matter? Builder’s sand is a million miles from the stuff for children’s sandpits, what do you recommend? (I have the same problem when advised to loosen up heavy clay soil with sand, I don’t know what to choose!)

  2. corkyon 03 Nov 2011 at 12:38 am

    You can get horticultral sand from any garden centre, if you were to use builder’s sand, I pretty sure it has something in it that leaches into the soil

  3. Gwenon 03 Nov 2011 at 1:27 am

    Wow chicory sounds interesting to grow! I’m the same way — new things keep me going! I’ve only been gardening for a year now, though, so most of the things I’m growing this year are new to me!

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  5. George Davison 03 Nov 2011 at 9:02 am

    Wow, the picture of the chicory in the box looks like a professional operation. For some reason, the deer seem to love chicory. Right when there is a beautiful head, poof, it’s gone. My experiment this year has been cardoon. Please check out my site: http://fromseedtoscrumptious.blogspot.com/
    and search for cardoon. It really is an attention getter.

  6. Selmaon 16 Nov 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hi! I’m growing alot of chicory! The red kind, Radicchio. It is frosty here but they don’t seem to mind. They are curling up into nice bright wine red heads and they will have a much milder taste now after the frost. But what I wonder is why are you digging yours up and storing them? What does force entail? You plant the roots again in february? It doesn’t survive the winter outdoors? I heard it such a hardy plant that it will, but maybe that’s only accurate when speaking of Radicchio. Is it endives you have? I will start following this blog!