How to Grow a Belgian Salad

Belgian salad is a vegetable that is part of the endive family, also called Belgian endive or Witloof endive. This escarole is highly sought after because it has a sweet and bitter taste, tender and fleshy leaves of a peculiar white color. This Belgian endive does not grow in the garden as you know it: you have to intervene during cultivation to force it to whiten.

If you want to learn how to grow this very good vegetable to bring as a cooked vegetable or in a salad, here is a short guide to growing it.


Growing Witloof chicory

Sowing Belgian endives . You can sow Belgian salad in the garden from March to July, you can sow it in rows but we always advise to do it in rows. In this case, space the rows at least 20 cm apart and leave 15 cm between sowing. The soil must be well plowed.

Cultivated. Belgian chicory is a head chicory, it is a simple vegetable to grow, you can refer to the radicchio growing instructions that we wrote in this article. The Belgian salad, in fact, requires the same care as the radicchio and other endives.

Belgian endive forcing

If you want to get the characteristic tender white heart of the Witloof lettuce, you have to force it out of the garden and finish growing it in a box. Here’s how to force it:

sheet cut . At the end of September or, in any case, with the arrival of the first winter cold, the Belgian salad plants will be cut just above the neck (about 1 cm) removing all the leaves and obtaining the root, which will then be transplanted in a box, to continue cultivation in a dark indoor room. Do not throw away the leaves you have cut: they can be cooked.

The box graft. The boxes in which to put the salad should be prepared with a 3/5 cm layer of “young” compost, still capable of generating heat, covered with 10 cm of soil or, better still, sand. The chicory roots are transplanted by removing any side branches. In the box the roots should emerge one or two centimeters from the sand, they can be very close to each other but not in contact. Chicory should be watered very little.

Belgian chicory collection. One month after transplantation, the roots will have produced new leaves, also called chicory, if properly stored in the dark, they will have the characteristic white color of the blanched heart of the Belgian endive. After the first harvest, the roots will continue to produce smaller and smaller leaves that can be picked and eaten.

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