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When to Plant Endive and Escarole

Curly endive growing in garden

Endive and escarole are cool-season crops. They can be grown in early spring and in fall.

Sow endive and escarole seeds directly in the garden 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring. To set out transplants start seeds indoors 4 to 5 weeks before transplanting. Set transplants in the garden 4 weeks before to 2 weeks after the last frost. Transplants will give you a head start on the season.

Make succession plantings every 2 to 3 weeks until temperatures begin to warm in late spring. Endive is hardier than escarole; it can be planted in late winter under a plastic tunnel for early spring harvesting.

Grow endive and escarole in moisture-retentive, humus-rich soil. If temperatures warm you can mulch them with aged compost to keep the plants from bolting.

For tender leaves at harvest, blanch the heads 2 to 3 weeks before harvest. Blanch endive and escarole by gathering the outer leaves together at the top and tying them with a strong.

Endive started indoors

Endive and escarole seed sowing dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 8Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 18Jan. 15-Mar. 1
Feb. 28Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Mar. 10Feb. 15-Mar. 15
Mar. 20Mar. 1-Apr. 1
Mar. 30Mar. 10-Apr. 10
Apr. 10Mar. 15-Apr. 15
Apr. 20Mar. 25-Apr. 15
Apr. 30Apr. 1-May 1
May 10Apr. 15-May 15
May 20May 1-30
May 30May 1-30
June 10May 15-June 1
Young escarole in garden

Endive and escarole planting details

  • Sowing depth: ¼ inch (.6 cm)
  • Space between plants after thinning: 15-18 inches (38-45cm)
  • Days to sprout: 10-14
  • Days to harvest: 80-100; about 30 days after transplanting, you can begin picking leaves as you need them.
  • Storage period: 1-2 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet:  ¼ ounce (7 grams)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 100 heads
  • Suggested varieties: Full Heart Batavian, Green Curled, Salad King

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Endive and Escarole

Endive and Escarole Seed Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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