Green Globe Artichoke
Green Globe Artichoke
Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus
'Green Globe' artichokes have been cultivated since at least the 1500s. Thomas Jefferson grew them in his gardens and documented them off and on from 1770 until 1825. Artichokes are an interesting and attractive ornamental perennial with huge, edible flower buds. It can be grown as an annual if you sow the seeds indoors in mid to late winter and set out after all danger of frost has passed.
An excellent delicacy when boiled or steamed until tender, served hot, and the inner petal tips and the hearts are dipped in melted lemon-butter (some of my family likes to dip them in mayonnaise).
The exact origin of artichokes is unknown but they are presumed to have originated in North Africa where they still grow wild. Artichokes have been part of Mediterranean cuisines (Roman, Greek, etc.) since ancient times. Even today they remain an important winter vegetable there. Although they are a perennial, the plants will require winter protection if you live in a zone that experiences severe freezing. Each packet contains one gram, which is approximately 15 to 20 seeds. Hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10.
Start indoors 30 to 60 days before your last frost. Sow seeds ½ inch deep in sterile seed starting mix and keep moist until seedlings appear. Do not over water.
Space plants 24 inches apart in rows four feet apart. Keep uniformly moist and well fed. Since they are an attractive perennial plant, some folks use them as an ornamental in their flower beds.
Harvest the flower globes when they are mature but before the petals open. Steam or boil until tender, serve hot, and eat the inner petal tips and the hearts after dipping in melted lemon-butter. They are a wonderful delicacy.
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