Endive is a hardy, leafy vegetable similar to lettuce in growth habit and use. Endive has a crinkled leaf, while escarole has a broad, flat leaf.


Endive is a hardy, leafy vegetable similar to lettuce in growth habit and use. Endive has a crinkled leaf, while escarole has a broad, flat leaf.
The flavor is stronger than lettuce, but both make an excellent addition to a mixed green salad.

Varieties
Endive varieties include Green Curled and Salad King. Escarole varieties include Broad Leaved Batavian, Florida Deep Heart and Full Heart Batavian.

When to plant
These leafy green vegetables do not like hot weather and must be planted early in the spring for best results. Starting seedlings indoors and setting out transplants in early April is advisable. Direct seeding
in mid-July or setting out transplants in early August is suitable for growing fall crops.


Care
These leafy crops are hardy and can withstand freezes in the fall. Like most leafy greens, they require consistent watering and are fairly shallow rooted. They also require fairly rich or well-fertilized soil.
Harvest
Cut the entire plant at ground level and discard the dark green outer leaves. The most desirable part of the plant is the bleached light green/yellow leaves near the center. Store leaves in plastic bags in a refrigerator for several weeks.

Scott Eckert is Harvey County Extension agent, horticulture.