Radicchio - Palla Rossa

Avg seeds/pkt 80

I may not be a foodie but I know what I like: caramelized radicchio—bittersweet, salty and warm. Now that I know how fast and easy it is to grill to perfection (2 -3 minutes, tops),I want fresh radicchio close at hand.

It’s a cool-season crop with two possible plant dates: an early start indoors allows plants to head up and be harvested before they bolt. A later planting fares better, as radicchio can withstand and even be improved by below-freezing temperatures. Either way, radicchio will germinate when soil is 45–75°F and grows best in rich and fertile, well-drained soil and partial shade with 10 inches between plants and 18 inches between rows.

Indoors, 8 weeks before your average last frost, sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in moist seed-starting mix for germination within 10 days. Be sure to provide 12–16 hours of light daily. Harden off seedlings 4 weeks later, and transplant. Outdoors, in late July, direct-sow 1/2 inch deep every 5 inches. When seedlings are 3 inches tall, thin to 10 inches apart.

Radicchio has shallow roots and needs regular watering, feeding with a balanced granular or liquid fertilizer, and a good layer of mulch to keep soil cool. Harvest outside leaves after 60 days, and heads at 90 days or later.

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