Vegetable Radicchio Garden Plants
Radicchio, or red chicory, adds color to your garden and dinner table. This vegetable garden plant is used widely in Italy, where at least 15 varieties are grown. Wine-red leaves have white ribs infused with tangy taste. Radicchio is an Old World chicory, a frost-tolerant vegetable that can be mistaken for cabbage. Depending on your USDA zone, radicchio may be grown as a spring, summer or fall vegetable, but the most common red leaf heading radicchio does best grown in cool temperatures. Radicchio is frost tolerant for a short period of time and growing temperatures may range as great as from 30-90 F. (-1-32 C.). However, higher temperatures for any length of time will burn the leaves of the radicchio. Radicchio will grow in a variety of garden soil conditions from sandy to clay-like loam, but it much prefers a soil pH of 7.5-8.0, excellent drainage and adequate irrigation. Radicchio can be direct seeded or transplanted depending on the time of year and what climate you are in.
If transplanting, start the seeds indoors four to six weeks before transplantation. Generally, you should direct sow after the danger of frost has passed. Plants should be 8-12 inches apart in the row depending on the cultivar. Maturation occurs around the 125-130 day mark. Radicchio garden plants need a constant amount of irrigation due to their shallow roots and to encourage the growth of the tender shoots.