Often called escarole, which have wider leaves, endives will succeed in any ordinary garden soil not deficient in humus and normal moisture. Like lettuce, its succulent growth must be rather rapid to enable it to form tender leaves. On poor, dry, exposed soil its growth will be slowed up so that its leaves, if they form in quantity, will be tough and unnecessarily pungent.
For success in growing endive, use the same area where lettuce succeeded early in the spring, and add a thin layer of compost in the rows.
Seed should be thinly covered with not more than 1/3 inch sifted, mature compost humus, clear a mixture of the two. To make the seed, sand and humus may be well mixed in a container and then spread along a shallow trench. The rows should be about one foot apart and the plants should stand one foot apart in the row.
You may find it best to raise flat or a similar container set in a particular spot, or by using a shaded seedbed. Seedbeds may be protected from heat by stretching cheesecloth. When transplanting the young plants in the garden, be sure they are set slightly before they were in the flat and are well firmed; work with the hoe to keep down mulching of straw.
This may be accomplished by putting flowerpots over the plants and foot-wide planks on edge with a light-tight miniature root tying up the head. When the plant is fully grown and the head fairly well formed, draw together the long outer and tie them with soft string. The plants should remain covered for about three weeks.
Plants that reach maturity should be gently dug up with a good earth around their roots and set in a corner of a cool, unheated cellar.