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!