Summer is almost over, but there is still a lot to do in the kitchen garden. The program includes harvesting and planting. Among the vegetables that you can grow in late summer and early autumn, there is a salad. We’ll explain how to plant endive to keep fresh homegrown greens on the table during the cold season.
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Planting endive lettuce: Late summer cultivation is still possible
Endive is a low-maintenance plant that can be planted even in cool weather. The first harvest is already in mid-August, after which the new seedlings may be advanced to the raised bed or container garden in the greenhouse. The right timing is crucial here. Basically, you have two planting dates in late summer and fall:
- Late August, early September at the latest, you can plant the endive outdoors. Endives tolerate low temperatures and can also spend the winter in the garden. However, at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, you should cover the plants with frost protection. If it rains a lot in the fall, the endive needs rain protection. This is because it cannot tolerate waterlogging well. Also, the wet leaves begin to wither quickly.
- In early fall, that is, early to mid-September at the latest, you can plant the lettuce in an unheated greenhouse.
- Plant the endive when temperatures vary between 17 and 25 degrees.
- Now it is too late to sow: so that you can harvest the endive lettuce October / November, you should now put in the ground already grown seedlings.
- Choose the right seedlings: they should not be too small and not too big. The fastest to adapt are plants that have just formed two pairs of leaves.
The right location for a harvest in the fall.
Select a sunny place in the garden, protected from wind and rain. Although endive will grow easily in off-sun locations, it needs at least 3 hours of direct sunlight daily (morning or midday sun is best).
Lettuce is the perfect successor to heavy feeders such as various cabbages. Salad vegetables also get along great with celery, radishes, beans, carrots, peas and dill.
Prepare the soil: This is what you should pay attention to when growing
The endive prefers a nutrient-rich, moist and well-drained soil.
1.If you have a loamy soil, you should first loosen it. Then you can work organic compost into the soil. Usually the compost is completely sufficient and can provide the endive with all the important nutrients.
2. it is better to do without additional fertilizers in the fall. These promote growth, the plants do not form foliage, but sprout in height. However, they remain spindly and are not stable enough. If the lettuce gets too much nitrogen in the fall, then it will be more sensitive to cold and frost.
3. if necessary, you can add sand to the soil to improve its permeability. Good drainage is very important so that the roots do not rot.
4. after you fertilize the soil with compost, you can water it abundantly.
Planting endive lettuce: Useful tips
When planting the salad vegetables in the fall, you should take into account a few things:
Choose a sunny day. Water the soil the day before, if it has not rained that week. Weed and loosen the soil.
The minimum distance between rows is 45 cm, and between plants in a row – 15 cm to 25 cm.
Water the plants abundantly one hour before planting. Then dig them out of the potting soil and lightly dab the roots to
Do not set the plants too deep into the soil. The leaves should not touch the soil. Otherwise, they can quickly wither or be attacked by pests. Especially fungal diseases spread through the spores in the soil. So it is very important to keep the leaves dry when watering.
Keep watering the plants and never let the soil dry. This will allow them to develop their roots and foliage more quickly.
Harvest endive in the fall: This is why you should tie the leaves together
When is the right time to harvest if you planted the young plants in August? Basically, endive has until mid-November to mature. It takes an average of 45 days before you can harvest the endives. However, this period should only serve as an orientation, because the ripening time depends mainly on the weather.
The leaves are ready for harvest when they become lighter in color. Green leaves taste bitter, so you should not harvest them. One trick that can shorten the ripening time is to tie the leaves together. This is usually done 14 days before harvest. The outer leaves brighten the fastest because they get a lot of direct sunlight. Most smooth-leaved endive varieties are self-bleaching. This means that the light-colored leaves will lighten the green leaves when you tie them together. Freshly harvested endives will keep longer if you wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate them.
Endive provides freshness kick in summer and fall. With proper care and a little patience, you can harvest the salad vegetable until November.