Chicory is a member of the mint family that is native to the Southern United States. Growing this low-maintenance perennial in your garden provides a very flavorful, aromatic, and attractive addition to your culinary efforts. Chicory's flavor is similar to nuts, so it's an excellent choice for adding flavor to baked goods or other foods.
Chicory seeds are available from many sources. You can purchase them from a local nursery or garden shop, but many experienced gardeners prefer to plant their own. If you are planning to start planting seeds, there are a few pre-needed supplies you will need. Buy at least six large containers with approximately two to three gallons of water per plant. If your frost free planting calendar calls for planting during the fall, winter, or spring, then you will also need approximately two to four cans of well water per plant. These are only basic necessities; you will want to add other supplies as you get more familiar with your chinchilla planting and learning how to care for your new additions.
The next step is planting. It is important to plant your chinchilla in a location away from foxes, coyotes, or other potential predators. Planting in areas with good drainage, such as mulch, is also beneficial because it helps hold moisture in the soil and keeps roots cool during warm months. Be sure to place your new additions in a location where they will receive ample light and make sure they are far enough away from overhanging tree branches to prevent them from becoming diseased.
Chicory seeds are very low maintenance plants, but there are some things you should know to help keep them healthy. They do not like being over-watered, so watering them once a month is sufficient. If you have ever planted any type of leafy vegetable, you know that once a month is too long. Full sun is the best condition for these tiny plants, but you can expect to see leaf color start to fade after they have been in direct sunlight for only a few hours. They will eventually settle into a shaded area to grow and become comfortable.
Harvest time can be a trying time for chinchillas, especially when considering the threat posed by several types of pests. Grubs, which can eat up to one-third of your plant's worth, are one of the most common types of pests found in the wild. Chicory seeds, however, are an excellent deterrent against grubs. If you are having trouble with chinchilla harvest times, there are a number of safe, organic, non-toxic sprays available that can be applied to the outdoor gardens to keep the rodents away.
Other pests, such as mice, may not be killed by chinchilla farming, but their presence can still create discomfort for the plant. Mice, for example, will gnaw at the leaves and cause the plant to lose its shape. Frost-sensitive chicory plants may freeze in the winter and have poor circulation due to low levels of vitamin C present in the leaves. To address this issue, freeze-drying the plant after the frost has formed is recommended before placing it in your garden.
Like other legumes, chiles also benefit from organic soil fertilization. A pre-emergent planting of chicory seeds will aid in the growth of the small plants' roots and help them stay anchored to the soil. Fertilizing your garden with manure or human waste from the kitchen helps too. Do not, however, fertilize your plants with animal waste that came from slaughtered cows or chicken. The small particles of broken fur or feathers could potentially contaminate the soil and poison the plants when they begin to grow.
When it comes to planting chicory seeds in the wild, remember that planting in an area with an adequate amount of sun will ensure that your little garden grows strong and healthy. If you are unable to get sunlight into the soil for prolonged periods, then consider planting your seedlings in an area that receives short bursts of sun throughout the day. Another option would be to lay a layer of wet newspaper on the soil before you plant. This should help protect the young seedlings from the effects of the elements as well as providing some protection from birds and rodents.