This is the first installment of a new monthly series. It will become obvious as to what this series will entail as you read this and my forthcoming articles.
Are you a gardener that just LOVES seed catalog season?
That time of year when you really can't do much in the garden and those pages of beautiful fruits, vegetables, and other things are just driving you crazy. You want to get out there and do something, you keep looking at the catalogs and wonder if you could try growing that, would it work, or why have I not tried that. The decisions are mind-boggling.
What if somebody was to send you some kind of seeds, you didn't know what was coming, but it might just introduce you to something that you would never have tried on your own?
Let me introduce you to a new seed of the month club. Everybody Gardens Seed of the Month
It is being introduced by Doug Oster, the editor of "Everybody Gardens". He's an Emmy Award-winning producer, television host, and writer. Oster is also the co-host of The Organic Gardeners Radio show every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh.
They have asked me if I would be willing to spread the word each month and I agreed. This coming month they will be sending out seeds of 'Giulio Radicchio'. It is also known as Italian chicory and has a distinct and appealing bitter-sweet flavor. The compact heads are a stunning deep red color with white veins. Giulio is the first radicchio developed for a slow to bolt, spring production.
In warmer areas, zone 7 and my area, zone 8, you can leave them in the ground all winter. Since it is considered a perennial, they will regrow the following spring. However, your quality may not be as good as those grown as annuals.
Plant Radicchio in the cooler seasons of spring and fall, it is considered a cool season vegetable. Plant the seeds directly into the ground 4-5 weeks before the last frost for a spring crop and/or late summer for a fall crop. Plant in rows, 3-4 inches apart. Once they have germinated, thin the rows to about 10″ in between each plant.
Radicchio has shallow roots so it will require more water than many other plants. Do not give this plant too much nitrogen, it can cause leaf burn, bitterness, and even lead it to bolt quicker. Amend the soil prior to planting and you should not need to fertilize throughout the rest of the season unless the plant shows signs of deficiency.
Radicchio leaves can be cut and eaten at any time and is a popular microgreen for its colorful and flavorful sprouts. The heads will firm up in 60-100 days from planting depending on your horticultural practices.
To see if heads are ready to harvest start by squeezing them lightly. If they feel firm and full of moisture they are ready to harvest. Cut the head as high above the soil line as possible while keeping all the leaves connected to the base. If you cut the head too high, the head will fall apart, which depending on your usage, may not be a bad thing. Cut the head too low and the plant may die, if you were growing it as an annual, again that may not be a bad thing.
So, you grew some Giulio Radicchio, there are several things you can do with it, besides put it in a salad. It can be roasted or grilled with Olive Oil and Sea Salt as in this RECIPE.
You could use it raw in salads or slaws. You can pickle it like Kimchi or substitute radicchio in any other recipes calling for chicory or endive. Finally, it can be used as edible cups to hold tuna, chicken or egg salad.
Image courtesy of https://www.couponclippingcook.com/curry-tuna-salad-with-radicchio/
Your imagination is the only thing holding you back.
I look forward to the next edition of the "Everybody Gardens Seed of the Month" and I encourage you to check them out, then stay tuned here for the heads up on what is coming next, some of my growing tips and things that can be done with what you grow.
Until then, if you have any questions about this or any of my other posts, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail to TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com. You can also follow me on FACEBOOK or check out MY WEBSITE