Sowing Guide

How to Sow British Red Ball Chicory Seeds

How to Sow British Red Ball Chicory

Known for their large heads, coupled with tightly packed, crisp red & cream leaves. Chicory is a biennial plant, containing leafy foliage and a flavour packed ball, which can all be harvested. A biennial, which is used similarly to spinach in dishes. With leaves being boiled to reduce bitterness, or added directly raw to salads. Adult plants once fully grown, can reach a maximum height of around 3-5 feet, so be sure to leave plenty of space if growing outdoors. Chicory can be harvested, when plants are over 90 days old, or over 12cm in height. Allowing them to grow on will produce a much larger yield. This is a medium to late variety, which will grow perfectly fine in pots, containers or outdoors in vegetable patches. When harvesting, leave the stump to encourage new growth. This can provide a continuous yield, if seeds are sown sequentially a few weeks apart.

Grow British Red Ball Chicory from Seeds

  • Best germination rates will occur when seedlings are protected. Sow behind glass if possible, from Feb to April. Temperatures from 15-20 degrees Celsius are ideal.
  •  Seeds can be sown all year round on windowsills or in greenhouses. Provide some warmth early on, to encourage germination.
  • Start in pots or seed trays, planting seeds approximately 15mm deep, using fresh soil or compost.
  • Only sow directly outdoors in the ground, when temperatures are consistently warm.
  • If sowing in rows outdoors, allow around 30cm between each row. Placing 2 seeds in each 15mm drill.
  • Ensure the soil is kept moist, placing in a sunny location. Preferably behind glass. Germination should occur, within 14 days.
  • Once seedlings reach 3cm in height, they can be transplanted outdoors. Providing there are no more frosts due for the year.
  • Seedlings will reach full maturity after 90 days. Once acclimatized to outdoors, chicory leaves will compress and become tightly packed. Once the colours intensify to a deep red, the plant is ready for harvest.

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