Growing Artichokes

 

Artichoke.–The artichoke of literature is a tall, coarse perennial of the thistle tribe, producing edible flower-heads. Cardoon is a related plant.

The fleshy scales of the head and the soft “bottom” of the head are the parts used. The young suckers or shoots may also be tied together and blanched, using them like asparagus or Swiss chard. But few of these plants would be needed for a family, as they produce a number of flower-heads to a plant and a quantity of suckers. The plants should be set from 2 to 3 feet apart in the row, the rows being 3 feet apart. This vegetable is not quite hardy in the North, but a covering of leaves or compost to the depth of a foot will protect it well. The plant is perennial, but the best yield comes from young plants. If the heads are allowed to ripen, they reduce the vitality of the plant.

Edible heads should be secured the second year from seed. Seedlings are likely to vary greatly, and if one is fond of artichokes, he would do better to propagate by suckers from the best plants. These plants make no mean decorative subjects, either massed or in a mixed border, and from the rarity of their culture are always objects of interest.

Artichoke, Jerusalem, is a wholly different plant from the above, although it is commonly known as “artichoke” in this country. It is a species of sunflower that produces potato-like tubers. These tubers may be used in lieu of potatoes. Hardy, and will grow anywhere.

 

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