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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

  Advantages of Container Vegetable Gardens
  Best Vegetable Crops for Containers
  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
  Container Vegetable Gardening Tips
  Container Vegetable Gardens
  Double Your Crops
  Getting Children Interested in Growing Vegetables
  Grow Your Own Salad
  Growing Tomatoes in Pots
  Growing Vegetable Plants Becomes More Than Just A Hobby
  How to Grow a Vegetable Garden
  Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas
  Indoor Vegetable Gardening How to Tips
  Learning About Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening
  List of vegetable crops by difficulty
  Mushroom Growing in Odd Unused Spaces
  Non Hybrid Seeds For Survival Gardening
  Organic Container Gardening - Simple and Easy Ways to Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Pots
  Organic Vegetable Cultivation Table
  Over Wintering Chilli Pepper Plants
  pH preferences of food crops
  Planning your Container Crops
  Planting Tomatoes Upside Down
  Potato Container Garden Tips
  Preparing a Vegetable Garden
  Review: Food4Wealth by Jonathan White
  Vegetable Container Garden Tips
  Vegetable Crops in alphabetical order by name
  Why I Recommend Vegetable Container Gardening
  Why Vegetable Container Gardening is Getting More Popular Today Than Ever
  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
  How to grow organic Komatsuna
  How to grow organic Land cress
  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips




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Organic Gardening:


How to grow organic Globe artichokes


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Globe artichokes
Globe artichokes are actually flower buds

Globe artichokes

Cynara scolymus

Family: Compositae (Group 4)

Globe artichokes are perennial plants attractive enough to be grown in an ornamental garden, 60-90cm (2-3') tall with a 1m (3') spread. They are closely related to thistles.

Globe artichokes require an open but not exposed position, with protection from strong winds. They prefer to grow on well drained but moisture retaining soil. Good crops will only be obtained on good, fertile soil. The roots must not be allowed to dry out in summer.

The unrelated Jerusalem artichokes are dealt with on their own page, and brief cultivation information for Chinese or Japanese artichokes can be found in the vegetable cultivation table.

Recommended cultivar

Vert de Leon

Cultivation

Globe artichokes are normally raised from rooted suckers taken in spring, though they can also be raised from seed. Suckers (or offsets) are planted out between February and April. To take suckers, scrape the soil away from the base of healthy plants at least 3 years old and slice down between the offset and the parent plant with a sharp knife. Make sure the parent plant retains at least three shoots.

Dig the planting site thoroughly, incorporating plenty of well rotted manure or compost and apply a dressing of general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone or manure before planting.

Select offsets with as much root as possible. Plant firmly 5cm (2") deep, spacing plants 1m (3') each way. The tips of the leaves can be trimmed to reduce transpiration.

Keep well watered and protected from full sun until established. Apply a liquid feed such as seaweed fertiliser 6 weeks after planting, and mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Artichokes can also be raised from seed sown indoors in February or outdoors in March. Plant out after hardening off if necessary. However, as cultivars do not usually come true from seed, seed raised plants are very variable, and it is impossible to tell which are good or bad until heads are produced. It is best to build up stock in following years by taking offsets from the best and throwing away the poor ones.

During the first season keep plants well weeded and watered. A single head is normally produced towards the end of the first season.

Artichokes grown on heavy soil are more susceptible to cold. In cold parts of the country, earth up the base of the plant in autumn and cover the crown with straw or bracken. In the South it is usually sufficient to leave the dead foliage to provide protection. Remove all coverings in mid April.

In the second season the plant throws up several flower shoots, each bearing one large artichoke at the tip and several smaller ones lower down, If large heads are required reduce shoots to 3 per plant, snapping off others at the base. The small buds can be removed when they reach 4cm (1½") diameter to encourage growth of the terminal bud.

Plants deteriorate after their third season, so it is best to replace about one third of the plants each year to maintain a steady supply of good quality artichokes.

Harvest

Artichokes can be harvested at various stages, but are normally cut when the heads are plump and the scales are still soft and green, just before they start to open. Cut off the heads with 5-8cm (2-3") of stem, or at the base of the plant if there are no secondary buds. (For safety's sake, it's a good idea to snip off the spikes at the end of each scale.) Harvesting stimulates secondary shoots, which may give a second crop later in the season. This is encouraged if plants are given a comfrey liquid feed and watered after the primary heads are cut.

As mature plants crop in early summer, often in May and June, and young plants in late summer, from September on, a succession is ensured by having plants of various ages.

Diseases

Grey mould may cause shrivelled flower heads with fluffy mould growth. Control with good hygiene; increase aeration if possible; avoid overcrowded, damp and shaded positions; remove any dead buds or flowers.

Lettuce Downy Mildew may also occur, causing yellow spots on leaves and downy mould beneath. Remove and destroy diseased leaves, and whole plants if necessary.



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Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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