Cultivation of the artichoke is, contrary to popular belief, relatively easy to manage.
In summary, what you need to know:
Last name : Cynara scolymus
Family : Asteraceae
Type : Vegetable
Height : 100 to 150 cm
Exposure : Sunny
Ground : Rather light, rich and well drained
Harvest : from May to August
- Health: benefits and virtues of the artichoke
- Cooking: artichoke recipes
Whether by seed or by planting seedlings or carnations, you will find that it will be quite easy for you to obtain superb green or purple artichokes.
Sow well and plant an artichoke
Artichoke culture is done either by sowing or planting carnations. While planting carnations is the most common technique, it is worth trying your hand at sowing.
The artichoke seedling:
Contrary to popular belief, the artichoke sowing is very easy.
- You will start at the end of winter, from January to March, indoors, in a greenhouse or simply under cover if your climate allows it.
- Sowing is done in a bucket and transplanted as soon as the seedlings have 2 leaves.
- Planting can be done the following fall.
The artichoke is cultivated by eyecups removal, it is the young plants that grow at the base.
Carnations are planted in spring or fall depending on the desired harvest period but also the climate of your region.
It is considered best to plant in the spring for areas with rather cold winters and in the fall when winters are mild.
- If you plant in spring (March-April), you will harvest the summer following.
- If you plant in the fall (September-October), you will harvest in the spring following.
Maintain a distance of1 meter between each row and 80 cm between each plant so that they have room to develop.
- The situation must be sunny.
- The artichoke likes rather moist but well-drained soils, clay and rich in humus.
- Add a good dose of fertilizer or compost when planting.
- They need to be protected from the cooler winds in winter.
Cultivation and maintenance of artichokes
The artichoke is a plant that can live for several years in the same place, provided it is well winter protected in case of frost.
The resistance of the artichoke to cold and frost is -5°.
- When winter arrives, kill the stems of your artichokes
- Cover with a mulch of dried leaves to protect from frost
- In the spring, remove the soil, weed then add compost to the base
Watering the artichoke:
Artichokes need water and are even very greedy, but they also dread soils that are too wet, especially when the water stagnates and causes the roots to rot.
- It is therefore advisable to water regularly but not excessively.
- Avoid wetting the leaves during watering so as not to encourage the appearance of mildew
Diseases of artichokes
The artichoke is a fairly easy vegetable to grow even if he fears certain diseases or parasites such as downy mildew, powdery mildew, caterpillars, aphids or ramulariasis.
It is advisable to treat from the start of the vegetation with a fungicide (Bordeaux mixture) to prevent mildew and repeat the operation after each period of humidity.
Finally, note that the artichoke readily shelters the caterpillars and snails and that it may be wise to set traps as the damage can be significant.
Regarding the rest of the diseases, there are natural treatments against powdery mildew, mildew, caterpillars, or black aphids.
When should you harvest an artichoke?
The flower heads should be cut approximately 15 cm from the stalk when you judge its correct size.
- Ideally, harvest before flowering when the flower heads are tender. If the artichokes are harvested too late we see a blue flower appear.
- A good way is to watch the head scales.
Theartichoke is ripe when these scales break off as soon as you bend them back.
- One foot usually gives 3 to 4 artichokes the 1st year and 6 to 10 the following years.
- After 3/4 years it is better to change culture because the harvests are less and less good.
Artichoke in winter
Before the first frosts, it is best to protect your artichokes well from the harshness of winter.
- Cut flush the stems that gave artichokes
- Cut the larger stems in half
- Leave as such the smallest stems, those not exceeding 20 or 30 cm high
- Form, around the foot, a mound of earth 20 to 30 cm high
- Cover everything with a thick mulch of fallen leaves
After winter, what to do with the artichoke:
- We remove the mantle of dead leaves at the end of winter to let the leaves reappear
- In early spring, remove the mound of earth that served as a protective barrier
- Cut the branches at the base to keep only the 2 or 3 most vigorous stems
Species and varieties of artichokes
There are 2 types of artichokes, green and purple, of which we eat the flower heads.
- "Gros Vert de Laon" in the north of France and in the Center.
- "Early violet of Provence" in the south.
- "Green of Provence" : forms a small green apple, delicious raw.
- "Gros Camus de Bretagne" : vigorous, round head, semi-rustic.
- "Romagna" : gives small purple and pointed apples, to be eaten whole.
- "Viola" : purplish purple, decorative, tender and tasty flesh.
Cooked or raw, they are often eaten with a simple vinaigrette but the recipes are varied and often delicious.
Artichoke is a vegetable rich in vitamins C and B as well as an excellent stimulator for the liver.
It is desirable to enrich the soil with compost before cultivation and to loosen the soil well cra it is a greedy plant.