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Oregon State University
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Endive and Escarole

Cichorium endivia

Last revised December 27, 2002

Fertilizers o Harvesting, Handling, Storage o Pest Control: Leaf Crop Weeds, Insects, Diseases


VARIETIES (approximately 90 days)

Endive (curled, deeply cut, leaf types): Green-curled: Lorca, Ruffec (resists cold and wet conditions), Salad King. For trial: Large Green-curled White-ribbed, White Curled, Frisan, Wallonne Frisan (resistant to low temperatures), De Meaux, Crispy Green (heat resistant).
"Baby" endive: Tosca. For trial: Galia.

Belgian endive or French endive: These are other names for witloof or witloof chicory. See seperate Witloof file.

Escarole (broad, crumpled leaf types): Broad Batavian Full Hearted, Full Heart Batavian, Grosse Bouclee (slow bolting). For trial: Grosse Bouclee (slow bolting); Salanca (cold tolerant, for late fall or early spring).


SOIL

Endive and escarole may be grown on a wide range of soil types. Loose fertile loams, and muck soils are best. Soils should provide good water holding capacity and good internal drainage, and a pH of 6.5 and above. Since a number of these items are harvested in the fall, soils should be chosen that allow harvest in moderately rainy conditions.


SEED AND SEED TREATMENT

Endive and escarole seed numbers 350,000 to 400,000 per pound. Use a fungicide treated seed whenever possible. Have germination checked before planting if germination value is not known or current. Pelletizing seed allows precision planting. Some companies offer primed seed which can improve stand establishment under certain stress conditions.


SEEDING AND SPACING

Endive and escarole crops perform best under cool temperatures and are therefore grown in early spring or late fall. Varieties are available for summer (July and August) harvest.

Plant as early in the spring as possible and stagger plantings once or twice per week, planting only what can be harvested and sold during that interval. The quicker growing leaf lettuces may be planted until the end of August.

Transplant only for the earliest crops. Grow transplants 6 weeks prior to the time they are needed using modular trays, allowing l to l.5 square inches per plant.

Rows should be 15-18 inches apart. Plants should be 10 - 12 inches apart depending on cultivar and crop being grown.


FERTILIZER

Nitrogen: 100-150 (N) lb/acre - should be split in 2 applications.
Phosphorus: 100-150 (P2O5)lb/acre - apply all at time of seeding or transplanting, preferably banded 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed or plant roots.
Potassium: 50-150 (K2O) lb/acre - broadcast prior to planting.
Sulfur: 20-30 (S) lb/acre - broadcast prior to planting.

These recommendations are intended to provide adequate fertilizer. Nitrogen rates especially may need to be adjusted depending on crop, planting date, weather conditions and soil type.


IRRIGATION

These crops require a uniform supply of water for tender growth. Frequent irrigations are preferred because these crops are shallow rooted. A total of 8-12 inches of water may be necessary depending on crop, seasonal variation, planting date, and variety.

Soil type does not affect the amount of total water needed, but does dictate frequency of water application. Lighter soils need more frequent water applications, but less water applied per application.


HARVESTING AND HANDLING

The University of California-Davis has a file on Minimal Processing of Fresh Vegetables that discusses film wrapping and other topics.

Average yields for both endive and escarole are approximately 130 cwt/acre with good yields about 180 cwt/acre.

Harvest is usually by hand and the greens are packed into cartons in the field. Keep the leafy items clean, free of soil and mud. Ideally these crops have a spicy and mildly bitter taste. A strong bitter taste, and toughness, develops if harvest is delayed or if crop is over-mature, and then the product become unmarketable.

Specialty leaf lettuces, endive, and other greens for bag mixes have usually been harvested by hand, but harvesters for this use are now available. Three are:

  • Green Crop Harvester, made in England. Sole US distributors are C. and K. Anderson, Fresh Herb Co., 4114 Oxford Rd., Longmont, CO. The cost is $20,000 (1998 prices) for a 4-foot wide model which hold the greens upright by chain-driven sweeps and cuts the greens with a reciprocating knife (like a hedge trimmer). A picture of the machine can be seen in Johnny's Select Seeds 1998 catalogue, page 87.
  • Quick Cut harvester, an Italian, battery-powered, walk-behind machine with a 39", 48" or 54"-wide head and a band-saw cutter. Cost is $11,000. Sold by Ferrari Tractor CIE, PO Box 1045, Gridley, CA 95948; and by David Washburn and Meg Anderson of Red Cardinal Farm, 9694 75th St. North, Stillwater, MN 55082.
  • Enha Pro, a human-powered machine designed by Norbert Hufnagl, Field of Dreams, 117 Fredon Springdale Rd., Newton, NJ 07860. Cost is $2,429 for a two-head unit and $2,966 for a three-head unit.
STORAGE (Quoted or modified from USDA Ag. Handbook 66 and other sources)

Hold endive and escarole at 32 F and 95 to 100 % relative humidity. Endive and escarole are leafy salad greens not adapted to long storage. Even at 32 F, which is considered to be the best storage temperature, they cannot be expected to keep satisfactorily for more than 2 or 3 weeks. Vacuum cooling or hydrocooling can help maintain their fresh appearance. They should keep somewhat longer if stored with cracked ice in or around the packages. The relative humidity in rooms where endive or escarole is held should be kept above 95 % to prevent wilting.


PACKAGING

All these crops are packaged in cartons containing 10-20 lb, depending on the item. Consult buyers for preferred packaging, and container sizes.


DISEASE CONTROL FOR ENDIVE AND ESCAROLE

THE FUNGICIDES LISTED BELOW ARE FOR INFORMATION ONLY AND ARE REVISED ONLY ANNUALLY. BECAUSE OF CONSTANTLY CHANGING LABELS, LAWS, AND REGULATIONS, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY CAN ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF USE OF CHEMICALS SUGGESTED HERE. IN ALL CASES, READ AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS AND PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS ON THE SPECIFIC PESTICIDE PRODUCT LABEL.

USE PESTICIDES SAFELY!

Wear protective clothing and safety devices as recommended on the label. Bathe or shower after each use.

Read the pesticide label--even if you've used the pesticide before. Follow closely the instructions on the label (and any other directions you have).

Be cautious when you apply pesticides. Know your legal responsibility as a pesticide applicator. You may be liable for injury or damage resulting from pesticide use.

Note that Oregon law requires reporting of pesticide use to the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture throught its PURS system, starting January 2002.

The Pacific Northwest Disease Control Handbook has no control entries for these crops. Fungicides registered, but not evaluated by University personnel in the Pacific Northwest, include Alliette, copper, and Botran for both crops, and Maneb, Ridomil, and Telone for endive only. Consult labels for rates, restrictions, and diseases controlled.

Proper rotations, field selection, sanitation, spacings, fertilizer and irrigation practices can reduce the risk of many diseases. Fields can be tested for presence of harmful nematodes. Using seed from reputable sources reduces risk from "seed-borne" diseases.

Use spacings and irrigations practices that minimize diseases and allow for cultivation. Choose fields free of perennial weeds and where related crops have not been grown for the previous three years to minimize problems with diseases and weeds.


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