Grow Your Own Globe Artichokes

 Globe Artichokes

Grow Globe Artichokes
Globe Artichokes
The Globe Artichoke, Botanical name "Cynara Carunculous" is very much a luxury vegetable and if properly prepared is absolutely delicious.  Many years ago I knew a commercial grower of the crop and he very kindly invited myself and my wife to diner.  His wife prepared us the most wonderful starter from some Green Globe Artichokes and I have been an absolute fan ever since.

Globe Artichokes require a really rich moist soil and  a sunny position and  plenty of room in which to grow. The plant makes quite a statement with it’s broad silver, frond like leaves ; you will need to make sure it has at least a metre all around in which to grow. This plant does not look amiss in a large herbaceous border.

You can grow Globe Artichokes from seed, but this is quite a procedure and I would not recommend it.

The best way is from off-shoots which can be purchased in April from reputable garden centres or Nurseries .

Soil preparation is important. The plant is going to be in position for at least four years, therefore give the chosen site a good ration of organic material, this will also help to conserve ground moisture as the Artichoke is quite a thirsty plant and should not be allowed to dry-out.

Be careful when you plant the side shoots and make sure the plant is well firmed in and planted at the same level it was at previously.

The plant should grow quite rapidly in the first instant -just make sure you keep it well watered. It will start to set it’s thistle like flowers in July – possibly earlier – and these need to be removed as soon as you see them. ; in the first year you want all the plants strength to go into building a strong foundation for future cropping. The early flowers from a newly planted Artichoke are usually quite open and would not make good eating even if you were tempted to pick them.  The other operation to be undertaken is to reduce the number of side-shoot at the base of the plant to about six to eight, and this needs to be done each year there after.

In the second  year you will notice that the flower heads form much earlier and this is when you should undertake a bit of disbudding. Leave only the flower bud at the top of the stem, and leave only about six flowers on each plant. Remember to top dress the plant with a general fertilizer – Vitax Q4 is ideal – as it does like a good feed !

When you think that the flower heads have reached their maximum size – and before they start to unfurl- chop them off leaving about five centimetres of stem on each globe. If  you then cut the stem back to about half way you will find it will produce a couple more flower heads which, after a few weeks, will give you another feast !

Your Artichoke plant should serve you well for at least four years , but to keep a continuity going take some side shoots from the Mother plant and start the process all over again in year two or three.

The Artichoke is quite hardy, but in northern areas it is quite a good idea to provide a thatch of  straw or other material over the crown once the plant has died down and the old growth has been tidied away.

There are a few varieties of Globe Artichoke , but number one has to be Green Globe.

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