Grow radicchio salad - care in the vegetable garden

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Radicchio salad

In addition to the various local varieties of lettuce, the cultivation of radicchio in their own garden is becoming increasingly popular. Because in addition to its red color also has a different, slightly bitter taste and has become a coveted and decorative salad. Originally based in Italy, it also desires a mild climate in the local latitudes, in order to flourish well. But there are different varieties that are also well suited to the northern climate. Cultivation and care of Radicchio in their own vegetable garden are therefore relatively easy.

Different sorts

Radicchio salad is still a relatively young cultivated vegetable in the local gardens that originates from the Mediterranean area. If the first salads in the supermarkets were imported from Italy until the 1980s, the hobby gardeners became aware of them at that time. It is divided into different types, which also form further sub-varieties:
Rosso di Chioggia, also Radicchio Rosso or Palla Rossa
  • white leaf ribs
  • red to dark red leaves
  • round head, similar to the cabbage in shape
Variegato di Castelfranco
  • light green or cream
  • round heads
  • speckled red
Rossa di Verona
  • Shape similar to lettuce
  • dark red color
  • also rosette chicory
  • or winter radicchio
  • Head shape is elongated
  • red to dark red leaves
  • white leaf ribs

Radicchio salad

Most of the variety cultivated in the local gardens is the Rosso di Chioggia, which is mainly used by Dutch breeders as seed and adapted to the climate in northern and central Europe through breeding.


Due to its homeland, the Radicchio prefers a warm and sunny location. A direct midday sun should therefore be avoided, especially in the hot summer months anyway. A light partial shade is also sufficient for him if no other location can be found. In addition, the salad can be grown in mixed culture. He gets along well with:
  • Marigold
  • Spinach, fennel, peas, beans, borage, cabbage
  • Tomatoes, cucumber
  • Chives, onions, nasturtium, dill
However, should be avoided direct cultivation in addition to other daisy family as well as parsley, celery or radish. The salad can be grown according to the hobby gardener's own preference in the garden bed or in a raised bed.
Tip: Those who already have one or more raised beds in their garden appreciate the advantages. Because stooping is unnecessary in the care and the harvest. In addition, these beds are an obstacle to some ground-level pests, such as snails.

Substrate & soil

For the cultivation of Radicchio is a humus, deep, loose and above all wet soil. Waterlogging, however, is not compatible with the plant. When preparing the bed, it is therefore advisable to subdivide compost, sand and peat and to pass well. In order to make the soil deep in the bed, it should be loosened in the first step with a garden hoe, in the second step with a rake again processed and straightened with a garden rake. So thick lumps of soil are avoided, which is not suitable for sowing. The bed preparation should be done several weeks before sowing so that the nutrients in the compost can be decomposed by the microorganisms living in the soil and released back to the earth. To keep the soil loose, it is important to rake regularly during cultivation.


Radicchio salad is sensitive to cold when sowing. Therefore, pre-sowing in a greenhouse is recommended if it is to take place in March. However, this should be heated so that a constant temperature prevails. Otherwise, it is quite common to sow the seeds in the garden bed in the open air until June:
  • use prepared garden bed
  • Pull rows
  • Place small sticks at the beds opposite
  • connect with a string
  • so the rows are straight
  • Distance between the rows at least 30 centimeters
  • Insert seeds approximately every 25 to 30 centimeters in the row
  • is set denser, must be separated later
  • not deeper than two to three inches
  • Do not press the earth and keep it moist
Tip: In order to make the harvest longer, a few seeds should be sown every week so that not all lettuce plants will mature at the same time.

Sowing on the windowsill

radicchio salad pb 2

If you do not have a heated greenhouse, which usually not every hobby gardener has in the garden, but would like to sow the radicchio plants in advance in March / April, you can pre-cultivate the plants on the windowsill or in a bright room. For this purpose, small pots are filled with a sand / soil mixture, in which the individual seeds are used about one to two centimeters deep. Then proceed as follows:
  • Just sprinkle soil over it
  • keep it moist
  • pay attention to constant heat in the room
  • Ideal is between 16° and 20° Celsius
  • It can also be a transparent film placed over the pots
  • Do not forget to air every day
  • plant outdoors in June
Tip: For the cultivation in a room also a heated room greenhouse can be bought. This does not take up much space, but the constant temperature can be regulated much better.


Radicchio was sown in March in the protected greenhouse or pre-cultivated on the windowsill, then it will be planted outdoors in June. This happens only so late, because especially the young plants could react very sensitively to temperatures below 16° Celsius. When planting, the following should be noted:
  • The planting distance is between 25 and 30 centimeters
  • The distance between each row should be at least 30 centimeters
  • accordingly dig out the planting holes
  • since the plants have long roots, the holes should be deep enough
  • Insert the young salad and fill in the soil
  • Lightly press
  • water well
Tip: For those in the greenhouse or in pots early and later transferred to the garden bed plants must be handled very carefully, because the root forms a thick taproot, which must not be damaged during planting.

to water

Radicchio salad

The soil for the radicchio salad should always be sufficiently wet. Therefore, sufficient water must be poured in the summer months. Even if a little bit of summer rain falls, it may not be able to sufficiently water the earth. Therefore, it must be infused here as well. Further attention should be paid during casting:
  • Preferably use collected rainwater
  • Keep the soil wet while avoiding waterlogging
  • regularly loosen up the soil around the plants
  • Pile up the soil around the plants a little bit
  • just pour in the morning or in the evening
  • always pour down to the roots
  • Spare leaves from the water
  • otherwise they could burn in the sun


Additional fertilizer after bed preparation are not necessary. However, if the radicchio was cultivated in mixed culture in a bed, then some, with few additions of fertilizer, would not hurt.
Tip: If too much nitrogen is administered with the fertilizer, leaf margin burn may occur. If the heads begin to rot, then maybe too much fertilizer was used.


There are winter hardy varieties of radicchio. These are sown later, the seeds can be placed in the bed until August. However, for the plants to come over the winter, they must be cut back in October to three inches above the ground. The cut leaves can be used in the kitchen, however. After cutting, proceed as follows:
  • All work must be done before the first frost
  • after pruning protect the bed with fleece or straw
  • Alternatively use tunnel with plastic cover
  • put these over the individual rows
  • remove the protection in late winter
  • usually between February and March, depending on the climate
  • Can be harvested then in March and April
Tip: Even if cool nights are announced in summer, it is advisable to protect the cold-sensitive plants with a tunnel above the individual rows.


If you like you can also get the seed from your own radicchio plants. For in the second year, the salad plant forms up to two meters high, light blue inflorescences, which also have a very decorative effect. If the radicchio is not completely removed in the previous year after the harvest and protected in winter, then the new seeds can be harvested next year.

Radicchio salad

If the flowers are withered, the inflorescences are removed altogether and placed to dry in a dry, warm place or hung upside down. The seeds can then be easily removed and used as in the sowing point. The remaining lettuce plants in the bed can now also be completely removed and disposed of on the compost.


Radicchio salad are very slow growing plants. So the heads are ready for harvest after about eight weeks after sowing. However, in order for the red color to develop, the salad needs stronger temperature fluctuations between day and night. Therefore, it is advisable to harvest in the fall between the months of October and November, when the red lettuce leaves in the kitchen should be used. For the taste, the color is irrelevant. The best way to harvest is as follows:
  • cut the head above the ground with a sharp knife
  • Alternatively, individual leaves can be removed
  • so the rest of the head of the lettuce stays fresh longer
  • Radicchio can also be stored for a long time
  • He keeps his cut in the fridge for up to four weeks
  • with root removed, it can be stored for a long time cool and dry

Care mistakes, diseases or pests

Radicchio salad is usually not very susceptible to diseases or pests. For example, aphids can attack the lettuce heads. Insecticides from the specialized trade help against this.However, if treated with the lettuce plants, they must be well washed and cleaned before consumption. It is better to prevent a cultural protection network over the bed so that the pests do not even get to the plants. Otherwise, the following diseases, mostly due to care mistakes, are known:
  • Margin Fire
  • is caused by too much nitrogen in the fertilizer
  • even if protective fleece is removed too late in breeding in spring
  • lazy lettuce
  • then too much fertilizer was administered
Tip: The diseases caused by care mistakes can easily be avoided if the care measures are followed correctly. Only against aphids may be necessary to proceed.
Radicchio is an easy-care salad that can be grown and harvested well in the local gardens. Preferably, the robust varieties should be resorted to here, which do not make that much of a downpour or a cooler summer weather. The care is not very expensive, only on enough watering must be respected. In return, the hobby gardener has a rich harvest of tasty radicchio in the fall until the winter on the first frosty days, which can be processed to salad or even as a vegetable.

Video Board: How To Growing And Planting Radicchio - Gardening Tips.

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