It’s hard to know where to start in describing our adoration for this variety. Variegata di Castelfranco is vigorous and extremely cold hardy, with large heads that produce loose outer leaves and tight hearts. Variable in color and leaf shape, spanning olive to lime green in color and sporting a variety of waves, frills and ruffles. Oh, and the speckling…each head is adorned with its own unique pattern of red streaks and spots. This is great addition to the fall-winter garden, due to great frost tolerance as well as its ability to head up when everything else has stopped growing. Wonderful, slightly bitter flavor, as is typical for chicories. Plant in mid-summer for late fall harvest, or late summer for overwintering. Castlefranco is a town in the Veneto region of NE Italy, while Variegata refers to the lovely red and white variation of the leaves. Here’s a blog post we recently wrote on the greatness of chicories.
Days to Maturity: 95
Latin name: Chicorium intybus
Life cycle for seed saving: Biennial
Plant Variegata di Castelfranco in July. Optimal soil temp for germination is 70-85°. Planting depth: 1/8”. For full heads – start indoors 4 weeks before desired transplant then plant at 12-18” spacing or direct seed every inch and thin to same spacing.
All of our seed is Non-GMO and Certified Organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture. We grow the majority of our varieties here at Deep Harvest Farm on Whidbey Island while we purchase the rest from other small, organic Northwest seed growers. Finally, all of our offerings are open-pollinated (OP) so that you too can save and share seed from these plants!