Radicchio cultivation

The Treviso radicchio: properties and characteristics

The Treviso red radicchio is a chicory grown in the Treviso area and famous all over the world for its quality, so much so that it has received the IGP mark. His fame came out of the small Venetian province in the mid-19th century and became known all over the world. The first «Radicchio Show» on 19 December 1899, in the Loggia of Piazza dei Signori in Treviso, is due to the agronomist Giuseppe Benzi. The first exhibition of Treviso red radicchio, that of 1899, still continues to be exhibited in the Loggia of the Palazzo dei Trecento and, starting from this date, the famous Treviso Agricultural Association inaugurated annual markets in the middle of December for publicize the new bleaching techniques in the production of fine radicchio. The study of bleaching techniques began in the mid-19th century with the techniques learned in Belgium from Francesco Van den Borre who experimented on the cultivation of local chicory. This production is unique because its cultivation is well suited only to the Venetian land, despite having been tried several times in other areas of Italy and Europe.

The varieties of Treviso red radicchio

There are two different varieties of Treviso radicchio on the market, the early one and the late one. The early variety is the one available from the end of September, quite large in appearance, with large leaves of intense red color and a long white central rib and which is characterized by a bitter taste. The late variety, also known as the «classic Treviso broadsword», has narrow, vinous red leaves with a white dorsal rib. This species is the most valuable as its production requires more complex operations that make chicory much more delicate on the palate and less bitter. The early variety reaches its maturity in early September, the late one in mid-November.

The cultivation of Treviso radicchio

Before the cultivation of radicchio, the soil must be worked with care so that it is light and clean for sowing or for transplanting the seedlings. It must be well drained, but it is absolutely necessary to avoid the stagnation of water that would rot the seedlings; the soil is usually enriched with minerals such as phosphoric anhydride, potassium oxide and nitrogen; some farmers subject the soil to chemical analyzes to identify its Ph and the quantities of minerals present and thus be able to give the right amount of organic substances. The sowing of the Treviso radicchio takes place in the open field between the end of June and mid-July, for this precious radicchio the transplantation does not take place as it would compromise the quality of the chicory. Sowing takes place by machine, as its large production has meant that the hand-made one was abandoned. The germination of radicchio seeds requires constant irrigation, at least every 2-3 days. Some companies have also experimented with the technique of transplanting seedlings with earthen bread obtained in the nursery.

Radicchio cultivation: Important things for the cultivation of Treviso radicchio

The right amount of water is one of the fundamental things for the cultivation of this particular seed. In addition to that carried out before sowing and transplanting, it is necessary to always keep the soil moist, avoiding too cold waters. In addition to irrigation, thinning also plays an important part in the success of cultivation; it must be carried out in two moments, before the seedlings exceed 15 cm in height and after 30 days. It is also important to know that radicchio, like many other crops, needs a rotation because the soil subjected to the same cultivation for more than 3 consecutive years is more prone to parasites. Radicchio is usually rotated with cereals such as barley and wheat in winter, or with cabbage, spinach and potatoes. Another way to protect radicchio from disease,

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