Globe Artichoke Plants
Growing and harvesting Globe artichoke plants (cynara cardunculus)in the home garden is not difficult, if you have the space.
Related to thistles they are used widely in cooking. These are are the source of 'artichoke hearts' and are fairly easy to grow.
They also make an attractive ornamental plant and offsets are available for sale from online suppliers in the UK.
Globe artichoke plants are grown both for the Artichoke heart, which is cooked and eaten as well as for decorative purposes in the border.
Growing and Harvesting Globe Artichokes
Usually grown for the heart of fleshy flower head which is picked cooked and eaten, they also make an interesting addition to the perennial border.
Where to grow
They prefer a well drained humus rich soil and a sunny position. Protection from strong winds is required as these perennials will reach over 3ft (1m). Remember that globe artichokes are usually left in the ground for 3-4 years before being divided so leave room for this plants to grow. (plant them 3ft (1m) apart.
Soil preparation is important as for most vegetables, dig in some well rotted manure and make sure the garden bed is well drained, they do not like to sit in wet or boggy soil during winter, however they do not like to dry out over the growing period either.
Planting Globe Artichoke Plants
Plant globe artichoke offsets in early spring and don't be to disappointed with the first seasons crop which is usually small. They perform best in years 2-4 and then need dividing and soil needs to be replenished. Simply dig up the old plant and cut the strong side shoots from the outside with some of the old root as well.
Fertilize with a complete fertilizer late spring and water well during summer.
Globe Artichokes need to be picked or harvested before the choke or flower head begins to open. Once the flowers open the artichoke become bitter and inedible. After picking the head, if you cut the stem back as well you may encourage a second crop.
The American variety 'Imperial Star' is popular as it seems to hold the 'choke' well. Purple sicilian is another popular variety.
Propagation of Globe Artichoke Plants
Offsets from last years plants may be removed with a sharp knife, remember to retain some of the roots. Plants generally will crop for three years, after this it is best to replace with offsets of with new plants from a reputable nursery.
To buy seeds and plugs try:
DEFLAND NURSERIES LIMITED - tel. 01354 740553
Benwick Road, Doddington March, Cambs. PE15 OTU
Specializing in Organic Plants for Garden Allotments. Vegetable, Salad, Herb, Strawberry and Ornamental Plants