Why Grow It
A bitter leaved, tangy salad plant, chicory adds a nice texture to winter salads. There are three types: red chicory, often known as radicchio or Italian chicory; forcing chicory, which is ‘forced’ by depriving the plants of light to produce tender, sweet white growths called chicons (which are a lot like tender cos lettuce); and sugarloaf chicory, which is like lettuce.
Chicory can be grown in a raised bed or open ground, or even in a pot – so it’s ideal for the balcony grower. You can grow them as baby leaves or let them grow on to produce a compact head. Forcing chicory can often be the only way of having tender young salad leaves in a very cold climate, as you are forcing them indoors in pots – and the little chicons are a delicacy.