Escarole Broadleaf Batavian

Some of the best gourmet salads include escarole for its snappy flavor, texture and beauty. Blanching (described inside packet) gives it a cream color and mild taste. Broadleaf Batavian is fairly heat-tolerant and is essential in mesclun mixes.

When to sow outside: 4 to 6 weeks before average last frost or as soon as soil can be worked, or 8 to 10 weeks before average fi rst frost. In mild climates (USDA zones 8 or warmer), sow in fall for winter harvest.

When to start inside: 10 to 12 weeks before average last frost; transplant outside 4 to 6 weeks after start inside.

Harvesting: In fall, harvest after first couple of light frosts; flavor is actually improved with light frost. When plants are 14" to 16" across, entire head can be cut off at base. In spring, harvest before temperatures get above 90° F. Some people peel away the outer leaves, as they tend to be tougher and more bitter than inner leaves. The leaves can actually be harvested anytime in a “cut- and-come-again” fashion; this is particularly good when seeds are planted too late in spring, and warm weather is approaching quickly, threatening to cause plants to bolt.

Artist: Donna Clement