How to Grow Radicchio | Guide to Growing Radicchio

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How to Grow Radicchio | Guide to Growing Radicchio  



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The small red and white heads of this chicory family member form best in cool weather. It is a staple in Italian salads with its bright color and bitter - but not overpowering - flavor.


Seeds or Seedlings

7 to 10 days, 45F to 85F

5 years

Well Drained

Full Sun, Part Shade

3" to 4" apart

10" apart

70 to 90

Growing Guide
Benefits from partial shade during hot weather.

Tender perennial grown as annual.

Requires careful timing and still may be unpredictable.

Most varieties are red with white midribs and veins.

Usually direct-seeded as transplants tend to go to seed (bolt) prematurely.

Cultural requirements differ somewhat by variety, so consult seed sources for best practices. Even so, this crop can be somewhat unpredictable. In general, plant older “forcing” varieties in spring, then cut back plants in late summer to produce heads about 4 to 6 weeks later. Newer “nonforcing” varieties do not need to be cut back, and will form heads in fall or even in summer. They generally do not hold their quality as long as forcing varieties.

Direct-seed about 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost. (Nonforcing varieties can be sown through through mid-summer for fall and winter harvest.) Plant seeds ¼ to ½ inch deep, 3 to 4 inches apart, in rows 24 inches apart. Thin to 10-inch spacings.

Mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Mulch crowns from harvested plants. If conditions are mild, you may get an additional harvest in spring.


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Harvesting Guide
A few outside leaves can be harvested for eating without harming seed production. Allow plants to dry completely after most of the flowers have set pods. Pry open pods to release dry, hard seeds. Radicchio matures in approximately 3 months.  It should be picked when it is mature but not old.  The older it gets the tougher and more bitter the vegetable will be.

Small amounts of seed can be left in pods and replanted. Some thinning will be required. Crush large amounts of pods in cloth bag with wooden mallet. Screen and winnow to remove debris.

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