Cynara - Artichoke, Globe, Cardoon
DESCRIPTION: Cynara is the botanical name of two vegetables known as the Globe Artichoke and the Cardoon. The Cardoon is, C. cardunculus, botanically. It's a tender perennial that can grow 6 to 8 feet high. It resembles its cousin, the Globe Artichoke, but the gray-green leaves overlap at the base. The wide, plump, edible stems form loose stalks or heads like celery. Cardoons keep their vase shape until late in the season, when a branching central stem shoots up. Several buds, which resemble small artichokes, grow atop this stem. These grow into purple thistle like flowers. C. scolymus, the Globe Artichoke, is a large, dark silvery-green perennial, which grows 3 to 4 feet high. The Artichokes, or Chokes, are the immature flower buds of this plant. The basal leaves are arching and elaborately cut.
POTTING: Cardoon - Cardoons are planted on the surface of the soil if it is heavy and clayey; if the soil is light, they are set in a trench, 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. The rows should be 4 feet apart. This vegetable needs deep, rich soil. If it is grown on the surface, the soil must be prepared deeply and enriched with compost or decayed manure; if it's grown in a trench, manure should be added freely to the lower soil. The ground should be kept free of weeds. Hoe between the rows and water in dry weather. It may be necessary to stake the plants. When harvesting, a sharp knife should be slid under the plant to sever the root. Chop off the leaves about where the green blades begin. The stalk or head of clasped leaves is comparable in size to a head of celery. Remove all vestiges of leaves, because they are usually bitter. Tie the loose head with string to keep it together and steam like other vegetables.
Artichoke - The ground for growing Artichokes in should be dug deeply and moderately manured; they prefer fertile, sandy loam soil. Two parts superphosphate of lime and one part sulphate of potash at the rate of 4 oz. per square yard should be raked in a week before planting. These plants need full exposure to sun. Artichokes require a long growing season and do best in California, but will do fine across the South and Southwest. In the North, they can only be raised in a greenhouse or from offsets (root divisions) started indoors during midwinter. Artichokes are harvested by cutting stems 3 to 4 inches below the bud with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Artichokes planted in the spring mature from autumn through midwinter.
PROPAGATION: Cardoon - Cardoon are increased by starting seeds indoors in early spring, in containers filled with equal parts of loam and leaf mold and transplanting to fertile soil after danger from frost has passed. Plant them 5 feet apart. In regions where winters are mild, seeds may be sown directly outdoors in late summer for fall or winter harvest.
Artichoke - In climates that are mild, Artichoke seeds can be sown directly outside, in groups of three. The seedlings will eventually be thinned to 4 feet apart. Suckers, which are 6 to 8 inches long, can be cut from the plants with roots and soil attached in early spring. Plant these 3 feet apart each way, or if you live in colder climates, plant them individually in 3 gallon containers, indoors. After the last frost, harden them off and transplant to a sunny location outdoors. Water Artichokes often throughout dry weather. Provide straw mulch, except in the West where snails and slugs are a problem.
VARIETIES: Cardoons - Large Smooth.
Artichokes - Green Globe Improved is the best to grow from seeds, or select offsets, which are taken from cultivars.
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