How to Grow Globe Artichoke

As Globe Artichokes are not grown in a big way by market gardeners, it is worth while having, say, half a dozen plants for the normal household. This artichoke is a perennial and is the one which produces large thistle-like heads. It is these heads which are cut off before they are open and which are cooked.

Globe Artichoke Popular Varieties/Cultivars

Purple Globe

Green Globe

Grand Camus de Bretagne

Globe artichoke soil need and preparation

This crop does best in a good, well-manured, well-drained soil. Good drainage is essential for it, although the plants want plenty of moisture in the summer, they will not tolerate sodden ground during the winter months. Before planting, the texture of heavy soils and the moisture- holding qualities of light soils should be improved by the digging-in of well-rotted compost at the rate of at least one bucketful to the sq. yd.; at the same time a fish manure with a 6 per cent potash content at 3 oz. to the sq. yd., should be worked into the top 2 or 3 in. With really heavy soils it is advisable to do the digging in the early autumn and leave the surface rough so that the soil can ‘weather’ over the winter. A dressing of fish manure at 3 oz. to the sq. yd. should be given every April and hoed in, and if it is thought that the plants aren’t growing well, then dried blood can be applied at 2 oz. to the yard in June. A sunny position is essential and some shelter from winds is appreciated.

Growing Globe Artichoke from seed

It is possible to raise plants from seed but this is not a good method as they do not usually come true to type. The best way of propagation is by use of the suckers taken from established plants in the spring. These should be about 9 in. long, with a piece of root or ‘heel’ of the old stool attached. Set the plants out 3 ft. apart in a row, and if there is more than one row, the next should be 3 ft. away. Plant firmly 4 in. deep and the ground should be watered if dry. Planting is best done in April. It is possible, however, instead of taking the suckers at that time—to cut them in November, pot them up and keep them in a cool frame over the winter, until the actual time for planting out in the spring.

Globe Artichoke Plant Care

Hoe in the summer to keep down weeds. The plants should be protected, in the winter by covering them with a layer of loose straw or bracken, which should be removed in the spring, and even replaced in the winter if it gets sodden. Aim at making a new bed every five or six years. The best plan is to replace the rows one at a time so that no row is more than five years old. This method has the advantage of avoiding a completely blank year with no artichokes to eat.

Harvesting/Storing/Using Globe Artichoke

There is nothing to cut until the second year. The main heads or ‘King Heads’ should be cut in the second and subsequent years when ready. This is when they are young and tender and before they are too fully developed. Side-shoots then develop with smaller heads, which should be removed, though they can be left until they are the size of hens’ eggs, when they can be, say, fried whole. The main heads, are however, the more tasty and if the laterals are not removed in the early stages, a second crop will be produced. Harvest, if possible, only an hour before the heads are to be cooked.

The heads are either boiled or steamed, and when served, individual scales are pulled off, the fleshy parts being eaten after being dipped in melted butter, though some people prefer to use vinegar and olive oil. After all the scales have been eaten, the best part which is the heart or ‘fond’ is still left. This is under some unedible pith which should be removed first. If it is too much bother to eat the fleshy part of all the scales, you can just eat the heart .

Globe Artichoke growing tips

– cut back the stems to near ground after harvesting.

– harvest before the plants go to flowering. once flowers have opened up, it is not useful to harvest, rather cut the bloom and dry it. it will retain the colour and would look great in any dry flower arrangement.