Globe Artichokes

Many vegetables taste significantly better when home grown largely because of freshness, none more so than the Globe Artichoke which is very hard to keep fresh once removed from its parent plant. This is one reason why we get a lot of artichoke hearts in bottles and jars rather than the full globes themselves.

They are easy to grow, juartichoke_c_phelpsst difficult to keep. Once you have a clump of artichokes all you have to do is keep cutting and give them a good mulch in the winter.

As usual with perennial vegetables its how you establish the plants that matters, Once you’ve done that you are away and the up keep and maintenance is simple. Rhubarb, sea kale, asparagus are all easy, its just a matter of getting them going.

 

Globes grow well from seed and this may be the best bet if you have never grown them before. They germinate well and grow quickly. By the end of season one you will have a plant the size of a large cabbage that may even produce one central stem with a globe on it. Maybe not, it could be just leaf growth. It depends on the plant, not on what you do. It can vary from plant to plant in a batch of seedlings.

The other way to establish a clump of artichokes or even just a single plant is to find someone else with a clump and get some off them. Finding the clump is easy, the separating of plants from the clump is not. It takes care and application and success hangs on getting the new plant in the ground more or less immediately once it has been removed from the parent clump. That is because there will be few roots on the new plant (division) and if they dry out in the wait the operation will be rendered useless.

How it is done

The separating and planting of new side shoots is done in early April. Having located a clump you need to separate side shoots off the clump bringing as much root with you as possible. In a way its no different from dividing any other herbaceous perennial in that what you will be doing is driving a spade in between the sideshoot and the parent clump and breaking them apart. Except that in this instance the side shoot will almost always try and snap off just below the surface bringing almost no root with it. Not only that…such root as does come with it won’t be much good to you unless it has a lots of new white side shoots off that root. It is these white roots that will sustain the new division when you plant it.

When it comes to planting

These new divisions must have half the foliage cut off (use secateurs or scissors and cut across the division half way down) and be planted immediately into firm soil and then firmed in so that the soil becomes even more solid solid. Not stamped, rather firmed with the heel of the boot. Then they must be watered until the after runs off i.e. they are soaked until the ground around them is properly saturated. This needs to be done the next day as well. Each division needs to be spaced a meter apart and will grow into a big clump of its own because all the new buds are found below the surface of the new division.

Varieties

Far and away the best variety is Green Globe. It is reliable and a heavy cropper.

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