Friday, July 23, 2010

Common as muck.

My favourite colour of flowers is blue; forget-me-nots, delphiniums, lobelia, pick any blue flower, I'll love it! Agapanthus and cornflowers are prodigiously blooming around Vinoland right now and they look so pretty. So, it goes without saying that one of my favourite weeds is common chicory (Cichorium intybus) because it too has a blue bloom.
Chicory has a deep taproot which can penetrate the hardest of soil types and can be useful as a vineyard cover crop. This beneficial weed can be planted to aid in the management of deficit vineyard irrigation programmes because it can apparently improve wine quality in overly vigorous vineyards (think reduced malic acid and methoxypyrazine levels in Cabernet sauvignon.) It is also very drought resistant, which is probably the reason it grows so successfully, and abundantly, along roadsides this time of year. However, it is a tall weed so don't expect to easily navigate any vineyard that is planted to chicory.
The taproot of chicory is also cultivated as a coffee substitute. Does anyone remember Camp Coffee? Growing up, there was always a bottle that lurked in the back of a cabinet in my mother's kitchen. It may still be there!


Do Bianchi said...

love your flower photos... happy Friday and happy summer! :-)

Affer said...

You are too young to remember Camp! Actually, it's still available - but "Bev" isn't. Bet you don't remember THAT one!

Thomas said...

Chicory has a coffee history down in Louisiana, New Orleans way.

Vinogirl, you might like to plant yourself some borage--nice, blue edible flowers that spark a salad. They have an almost oyster taste to them. The plant seeds easily as an annual and attracts bees.

Mrrayswigworld said...

Camp coffee.. and I know you don't mean the smile on Mellow Birds! x F

Vinogirl said...

2B: Thank you, always a pleasure to get a comment from you.

Affer: Careful who you are calling young! But you are right, I don't remember 'Bev'...was it regional perhaps?

Thomas: I shall look into borage - but only good if you happen to like oysters!

Mrr***Wigsomething: No, strictly a Nescafe household.