Chicory is a cool weather loving plant – so grow it in the fall. For heads: sow seeds July 1, 1/8” deep into containers placed in a coolish location (at 75° - seeds won’t germinate at temps over 86°). Days to germination: 7-10. Plant spacing: 12”. For baby leaf: sow seeds in garden soil Sept. 1st, 1/8” deep. Baby leaves are very cold hardy and will survive to about 0° if protected by a hoophouse.
Head: Harvest at full size before damaged too much by frost. Baby Leaves: when leaves are 2-4” tall, cut entire plant with scissors 1-2" above the soil so you don’t damage the growing crown.
Chicory is a difficult seed saving crop. They are cross pollinated by insects and will easily cross with the very common, Wild Chicory plants which will ruin the seed crop. Cichorium intybus are biennial – the plants need to survive the winter (in a hoophouse) in order to flower in year two. Inspect plants and only allow good plants to flower for seed. Isolation: ½ mile or caging.