Good food, eaten by tortoises in the wild, and like dandelion, high in calcium and beta-carotene. Like mallow though, it can act like a sponge to nitrogen when grown on artificially enriched soil, and so should be grown on plain unfertilized soil only.

From PFAF:

Leaves (Dry weight)

Water: 0, Calories: 290, Protein: 24.6, Fat: 2.9, Carbohydrate: 59.4, Fibre: 13, Ash: 13, Calcium: 1145, Iron: 24.6, VitaminA: 23, Thiamine: 1.01, Riboflavin: 1.74, Niacin: 5.8, VitaminC: 159

Although a perennial, chicory is usually cultivated as an annual crop, especially when being grown as a winter salad. The winter salad cultivars are usually sown in early summer to make sure that they do not flower in their first year of growth. By late autumn they have formed an overwintering rosette of leaves rather like a cabbage. These leaves can be harvested as required during the winter and the plants will then usually make some new growth (as long as the winter is not too cold) that can be harvested in late winter or early spring. The plants run to flower in the following summer and fail to make an overwintering rosette of leaves for that winter.

Chicory can be grown successfully in a meadow or even in a lawn so long as the grass is not cut too short nor too often. It often self-sows freely when well-sited, especially if it is growing in a dry alkaline soil.

A good bee plant. A very ornamental plant. The flowers open in the early morning (about 6 - 7 o'clock in Britain) and close around midday.

Seed - sow the wild form or cultivars being grown for their roots in May or June in situ. Cultivars being grown for their edible leaves can be sown in April for a summer crop or in June/July for a winter crop. Sow them in situ or in pots and then plant them out as soon as they are large enough.

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