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Saving Endive and Chicory Seeds

 
pioneer
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This year I grew cultivated endives (Cichorium endivia) and wildcrafted chicory (Cichorium intybus). I found that endive flowers tend to bloom all at once and the seeds dry out at the same time so it is practical to cut the flowering stem of the plants off once most of the seed pods have dried and dry the rest of the pods further indoors. The seeds come out easily with a gentle tug, so they can easily be hand-picked from the pods when collecting small ammounts of seeds.

For wild chicory, however, the flowers tend to bloom over several months and the seed pods ripen gradually. So far, I have been hand-picking the chickory pods daily as they dry out for the past two months.

Unfortunately, wild chicory seeds seem to be tightly packed inside their pods so it is not practical to hand-pick the seeds from the pods when saving large ammounts of seed.

I was hoping someone on this forum had experience saving large quantities of chicory and endive seeds so I could determine the most efficient method of saving large quantities of these seeds.
 
Ryan M Miller
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Based on this blog post I saw recently, it looks like I might have to use a process similar to the one I used to save radish seeds. Thankfully, I have a colander large enough for the chicory seeds and small bits of chaff to fall through:

http://subsistencepatternfoodgarden.blogspot.com/2009/09/saving-seed-belgian-endive-red-giant.html?m=1
 
Ryan M Miller
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It looks like the method in the blog I saw works well for moderate quantities of chickory seeds. I would advise against using a heavy mallet to break open the seed pods however as some seeds might be damaged in the process. It's best to tread on the seed pods lightly while wearing shoes.
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Nice to see it worked out. I'm trying to save seeds of my Endives, 50 plants showed up, so far only one started flowering, for a month already, the rest nothing so far. But it hasn't rained over the summer, maybe that's why.
Wild chicory doesn't grow where i am, it loves lime. I guess it keeps it's seeds longer and drops them after winter.
I've got a chicory based salad, called pain de sucre, which has the same ridiculously difficult seeds to remove, i did though, got quite a bit and seeded it, nothing came, except where i didn't seed it, weird. It has got these beautiful long stems with flowers that last all summer, it's a treat for the eye and the bees, i don't eat a lot of it's foliage though, hairy and very bitter, while sucre means sugar, weird the stuff they sell people.
I'm happy it didn't show up on my land away from my housegarden, because it might have crossed with my endives.
Aren't you afraid it's going to cross polinate, the wild one with the andives? Or are you playing with it?
 
Ryan M Miller
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Hugo Morvan wrote:
Aren't you afraid it's going to cross polinate, the wild one with the andives? Or are you playing with it?



The wild chicory I grew (Cichorium intybus) is a different species than the cultivated endives I grew this year (Cichorium endivia) so it shouldn't have crossed with the endives I grew.

I would be more concerned if I were trying to save radicchio seeds or witloof/Belgian Endive seeds since these cultivars are the same species as wild chicory (Cichorium endivia) so there would be a high risk of cross-pollination in such a scenario, especially since chicory is self-sterile.
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