Radicchio, Orchidea (Organic)
Cichorium intybus. Loose heading rosette type. 65 days.
An unstoppable winter green. Semi-open rosette shaped heads with some variation in red and green variegation, speckling and tones. Good planted any time summer through fall. More resistant than other radicchios to winter predation from rodents. Harvest as heads or as cut-and-come-again leaf. Very winter hardy with a good bittersweet taste that becomes sweeter after frost. Bitterness also mellows when leaves are steeped in ice water for a few minutes. Mentioned by Joy Larkcom in her seminal book Salads the Year Round. Heritage type originating in Italy, given to The Seed Ambassadors Project by Ingrid Matthes of the German Seed Savers (VEN).
Seed produced by Pitchfork & Crow in Lebanon, Oregon.
Sow indoors with good potting soil February through September. Transplant into the garden 3-4 weeks after sprouting. In our area, chicory can grow through the winter without protection but is best when sown in June or July for this purpose. Alternatively, direct sow March through August.
Collect seeds from 10 or more plants in second year when seeds have dried down. Cut whole plants, place on tarp, then dance and stomp to free the seed. Or place dry plants on tarps and drive on them. Screen and winnow to clean. Isolate from other Cichorium sp. by ½ mile.