My radicchio is the wrong color and my quinoa is flopping over

July 27, 2009 | By | Comments (11)

My sweet gardeners, please help.

Problem #1 – Radicchio
This is what I planted:


See the nice red leaves? The thick white veins?
This is what mine looks like:


Where are the nice red leaves? Where are the thick white veins?
There is a hint of possible reddening:


Can I really expect the entire plant to change color so drastically so as to resemble the seed packet by harvest time? That seems unbelievable!

Problem #2 – Floppy quinoa

Believe it or not, “floppy quinoa” doesn’t garner very helpful advice on a google search. Thus, I turn to you. My quinoa is beautiful. It looks like the seeds are finally starting to form:


It’s also starting to flop over:


It’s especially severe in the center of the bed. It looks like a giant took a step in the middle of the bed. I’ve got no problem staking — it’s just that I wasn’t expecting to have to do so, and want to make sure that everything is copacetic with my quinoa. Thoughts?



  1. Tyler Storey

    In looking at the earlier pictures of the quinoa, and now as they flop over at maturity, I wonder if the plants might be planted too closely. The stems have grown spindly from crowding and now can’t support your bumper crop. I tend to do the same things with Fava beans, but one of these years I’ll learn.

    August 25, 2009 at 2:33 am
  2. Angela

    I’ve been growing that same variety of radicchio, and I can tell you in the winter it IS red, very red. My package says that it needs cold weather to turn color, so the remaining summer stuff (I planted it last fall and it just keeps coming back no matter how many times I cut it) is green like yours. No cold weather in Arizona this time of year! But don’t worry, it’s still delicious.

    August 1, 2009 at 6:21 pm
  3. Hank

    All good comments — radicchio will not turn red until it gets cold. I cut my heads and let them regrow, but really I mostly plant them now (this weekend, in fact) and they will be lovely by Thanksgiving.

    July 30, 2009 at 9:57 pm
  4. Johanna Silver

    I am intrigued by the “cut off” trick.

    Yes, I know that radicchio are a fall crop…but they are supposed to be sown in Spring or Summer!

    July 28, 2009 at 6:35 pm
  5. Terri

    Yes, your radicchio are doing fine… they are just babies now. They will head up, more like a cabbage as they mature. You can do the “cut off” trick that some old timers did… may give you multiple heads for your efforts. You do know that radicchio are a late fall or winter crop, right?

    As for the quinoa, well that is new to me, so I am not going to be much help on that one. I will be interested in the answer, but my guess is that you are just getting a very, very heavy crop?

    Good luck… such fun to grow new things!

    July 28, 2009 at 5:11 am
  6. Gustoso

    Perhaps you need some trace elements?

    July 28, 2009 at 4:15 am
  7. Patricia

    Suggest you check Harvest to Table for general info.
    Barbara Damrosch (3/26/09, Wash. Post) says “grown in the traditional way by cutting off the first loose green bitter heads that formed at summer’s end and allowing firm, round ones to regrow from the roots, reddened and sweetened by the cold.” She was remembering Chioggia, Italy in a cold windy February.

    July 28, 2009 at 2:43 am
  8. chrispy

    Hey…I found a picture of it growing and it looks like your! That’s a good sign!

    July 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm
  9. MFREE

    Call me crazy but I vaguely remember listening to a pod cast from npr or splendid table where they talked about storing radicchio in a barn to mature after being picked?

    July 27, 2009 at 5:24 pm
  10. carly

    Another good link available on the Botanical Interests website:

    July 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm
  11. carly

    Here is what the Botanical Interests website says: “Harvesting: Harvest when heads begin to become firm. Cut head above crown, and it may re-sprout, producing another head in fall if you have a mild fall or in the spring if winter hits quickly. Remove the outer leaves until you reach the inner heart where the veins are white.”

    Perhaps you could increase the likelihood of white with blanching, similar to the treatment of cauliflower?

    July 27, 2009 at 3:40 pm

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