Globe artichoke is a delicious vegetable originating from the Mediterranean. The heart of the globe artichoke is delicious boiled, braised, stuffed or steamed. The heart is the centre of the large immature flowers.
The plants grow well in many parts of New Zealand. They are perennial plants that will continue to grow and produce their edible flowers for 5+ years. Although hardy, the plants will give you best harvest if they are given some care and attention. Not only do they provide you with delicious food, the plants are attractive with textural leaves and flower heads. Consequently they can be planted as part of your borders and not just in the vegetable patch.
Growing from Seed
You can sow the seeds in trays for subsequent transplanting or, after frosts, sow directly in a well prepared seedbed. Choose a situation in full sun but with some shelter from the wind. The soil should be well draining; they are suitable for quite sandy soils, but they also need plenty of nutrition so add a good level of organic material.
How To Sow: Sow these seeds in trays for subsequent transplanting or after frosts, sow directly in a well prepared seedbed. Sow seeds 4 cm apart and to a depth of 5 mm.
Planting Out: Thin the seedlings out and plant 1 metre apart. The fully grown plants will be about 1 m tall and have a 1 m spread.
Seedling Care: Keep seedbed evenly moist during the germination period of 7-14 days. Apply vegetable fertiliser two weeks after germination for healthier plants and maximum crop. Protect your seedlings from slugs, snails and insect pests.
Harvest: Harvest before the buds begin to open. Green and tight they provide the best flavour.
Prepare: Wash the artichoke flower heads, trim the stems and remove the loose outer leaves. Remove the sharp leaf tips and cut the darker green portion of the leaves off the top half of the artichoke and discard them. Cut off the stem and trim away any remaining green from base. This leaves you with the succulent heart of the artichoke.
See here for a recipe from our friends at 5-A-Day for barbequed artichoke with tarragon dressing.20 September 2021