With a little help from our trusty assistant and self-proclaimed Master Gardener, Penelope, we were finally able to get some of the endive pulled and packed into pots for storage. Little red headed Penelope has been a step ahead of the rest of the flock since day one. We can take her into the garden without worrying about what she'll get into as she just likes to keep us company. This never works out too well with the other birds who immediately seek out the garden's forbidden fruits. They must be very jealous of her as they are only able to watch from afar as we dote on her. She is a very affectionate girl, the minute you kneel down she will hop onto your leg seeking attention...chicken love, it's a Northern Idaho thing.☻ If these crazy birds ever get setty I hope it's her as she is by far the most intelligent of the bunch, and that's not saying much.
After carefully pulling the endive so as not to break the roots, we cut all the greens off and put them into a large pile slowly feeding them out to the chickens over the next few days. Piled up like this the waste greens will stay fresh for over a week in fall's cooler temperatures and provide the birds with a valuable source of nutrition. The roots are then layered into small pots for storage. I finally figured out that if you lay the pot on it's side it is much easier to place the long rooted endive into them...it was Penelope's suggestion of course. I will take these pots out of our root cellar and into the much warmer upstairs one at a time and enjoy the forced greens in the middle of winter. The roots can also used as a coffee substitute - Poor Man's Coffee.
Forcing = the art of raising plants, flowers, and fruits at an earlier season than the natural one, as in a hotbed or by the use of artificial heat. In our case this applies to winter salad greens - Forced To Provide.
A substitute for this root, both for forcing greens and a sorry cup of dried root coffee, is the common dandelion.