Table of contents:

How To Grow An Artichoke
How To Grow An Artichoke

Video: How To Grow An Artichoke

Video: How To Grow An Artichoke
Video: How to Grow Artichokes Start to Finish - Complete Growing Guide 2023, March

Grow these rare vegetables in your garden


The artichoke is one of the traditional vegetables in Italian cuisine. Today, it has gained well-deserved popularity in various countries, which, given its amazing taste, is not surprising at all.

You can find this vegetable on the shelves of Russian supermarkets, and throughout the year. True, most often they look completely dull there - small and lethargic or too dry inflorescences do not cause enthusiasm. At the same time, high-quality artichokes always have unfading scales covered with light fluff, tightly fitting to the core.

Gardener's handbook

Plant nurseries Stores of goods for summer cottages Landscape design studios

Such a sad picture on the shelves is quite understandable, because all the artichokes that get there are imported, and therefore they are far from the first freshness. Alas, you can store artichokes for 2-3 days, maximum - a week, then the taste of this unique flower vegetable quickly deteriorates (artichokes become fibrous and lose juice), and they begin to lose their unique aroma immediately after cutting.

So the tastiest are the ones just taken. Therefore, artichokes do not end up in restaurants specializing in Italian cuisine in such a roundabout way as in supermarkets, which, of course, automatically affects the prices of the dishes served. For example, in the capital's Baccarat restaurant for a signature dish - scallops "Saint-Jacques" with a crispy parmesan crust and artichoke, you will be required to pay at least 1,500 rubles.

The price of the same artichokes from wholesale suppliers, of course, is incomparably lower, but also impressive. For example, fresh artichokes from Tunisia in March-April (during the season of their mass collection in the Mediterranean, that is, when they are the cheapest) a couple of years ago, for example, were offered on average at 285 rubles per kilogram. In turn, this winter, wholesale prices for this delicacy exceeded 520 rubles.

Thus, this exotic vegetable, of course, cannot be affordable for mere mortals - well, perhaps a couple of times a year on some very important date. And if you still really want to, and your soul directly asks for exotic artichokes, then with a strong desire, you can plant this plant in your garden. In ancient times, he grew up with me. Now, alas, it is no longer growing - and the strength is not the same, and the enthusiasm has diminished.

Biological characteristics

Artichoke is a perennial herb of the Aster family. This plant looks more than impregnable - it is very similar to a thistle, only much larger, more beautiful and incomparably more useful than it. The artichoke has a long taproot hibernating root, large pinnately dissected dark green or silvery leaves, pubescent on the underside, and the stems can reach a height of 1 or even 2 m, although dwarf varieties with a height of only 70 cm have also been bred.

These stems are crowned with spherical inflorescences-baskets, consisting of leafy scales tightly adjacent to each other. It is them, more precisely, the fleshy receptacle of unopened inflorescences and the thickened bases of the scales of the lower rows of the wrapper that are eaten. That is, a vegetable named "artichoke" is actually an unopened basket of a future flower. Opened, tough artichokes with brown leaves are no longer suitable for consumption.

Artichoke benefits


At first, the artichoke was grown only as an ornamental and medicinal plant, because it contains many useful substances. These are proteins, fats, vitamins (carotene, vitamins B1 and B2), trace elements, as well as inulin - such a valuable starch substitute required for diabetes.

Scientists have proven that the use of this vegetable in food prevents the development of atherosclerosis, lowers blood cholesterol and helps to normalize metabolism in the body. Especially it should be noted the positive effect of artichoke on lipid metabolism, due to which artichoke extract is simply necessary to improve digestion, especially when consuming a significant amount of carbohydrates and fatty foods; to normalize biochemical processes in liver cells and improve cholesterol metabolism, which prevents sclerotic vascular lesions.

Artichoke dishes are also useful for people with high acidity of gastric juice, since it contains a significant amount of potassium and sodium salts, which have a strong alkaline effect. However, with gastritis with low acidity of gastric juice and with low blood pressure, the artichoke should not be consumed.

Well, now about the amazing taste of this unique vegetable. Fresh young artichokes have a delicate, amazing taste, reminiscent of the taste of a young walnut. Small artichoke cones are ideal for appetizers, medium-sized artichokes are ideal for stir-frying and braising. Fresh artichoke hearts of any size can be cut into very thin pieces and added to salad. But the vegetable is especially good in rice dishes, for example, in the famous Italian risotto.

Optimal conditions


The artichoke is a light-loving and thermophilic culture, and its seeds germinate at a temperature of + 20 … + 25 ° C for 5-6 days. And the optimal temperatures for its cultivation should be considered temperatures within + 23 … + 27 ° С during the day and + 18 … + 20 ° С at night. At the same time, adult plants are able to tolerate small frosts - up to -2 ° C, and artichoke inflorescences are damaged already at -1 ° C, therefore, in early spring, during frosts and nighttime temperature drops, it may be necessary to use a covering material.

This plant can not overwinter everywhere. In the Middle Lane and further south, with good cover, the artichoke overwinters in the soil. More precisely, plants that are well covered with soil (10-15 cm) and covered with spruce branches and covering material overwinter if the temperature in the root system zone does not drop below -8 … -10 ° C, for example, in the Moscow region, plants covered in this way can winter … Although here, of course, everything depends on the specific year, the amount of snow cover, how early the snow fell, etc.

In the southern regions (in particular, in the Krasnodar Territory), where the average January temperature is -3 … -5 ° C, no shelter is required at all, and it is enough to limit ourselves to hilling with soil.

For amateur gardeners from other regions, for example, who live like me in the Urals, it will be much more difficult, since the artichoke has no chance of wintering in the open field in these regions. However, there is still a way out - if we are talking about just a few plants, then they can be stored in a dark basement at above-zero temperatures. In this case, the plants should be carefully dug up, trying to keep the soil on the roots, wrap them in sphagnum, tie and place in a box and place it somewhere on a shelf in the basement.

As for soils, the artichoke prefers fertile and well-filled with organic matter. Theoretically, it will grow calmly even on not very fertile land, but then you will not have to wait for a large harvest of large baskets. Therefore, before planting, it is worth adding at least a bucket of rotted manure or compost per 1 m² of the planting area. The artichoke does not tolerate waterlogged, as well as insufficiently moist soils - with a lack of moisture, plant growth is weakened, the inflorescences are crushed, the receptacle becomes rough, and with an excess of moisture, the roots can rot.

Features of agricultural technology


The artichoke is quite unpretentious. It grows well on personal plots and, in general, does not cause much trouble.

Artichokes are propagated by seeds and root suckers. When grown from seed, the crop is usually obtained only in the second year. Seeds are sown in spring directly into the ground with a distance of 60x60 cm between them, with the expectation that in the second year of life the plants will be transplanted long distances from each other. In the middle lane, it is wiser to grow seedlings by sowing seeds in a greenhouse in early spring, and then planting plants in open ground at the stage of 2-3 leaves. At first, artichoke crops can be compacted with radishes, lettuce, onions on feathers and other green crops.

During vegetative propagation, more productive plants are selected, the layers are separated from them in early spring and planted in the ground at a distance of about 70-80 cm from each other in a row, and 80-100 cm are left between the rows.

During the summer, the plants are regularly loosened or just once mulch the soil under them with semi-rotten humus, and on top with straw, and then the tiresome loosening will be useless. They also carry out regular (about once every two weeks) feeding with slurry and complex mineral fertilizers, to which the plants react very positively.

To obtain good quality baskets, no more than three flowering stems and three to four inflorescences on each are left on the plant. If it is desirable to get larger baskets, then they are limited to three peduncles with one or two inflorescences in each peduncle.

The baskets begin to collect at the moment when the tops open in their upper part. The harvesting time depends on the region, for example, in the Middle Lane it will be in the middle of summer. In no case should the baskets be allowed to bloom - the flowering baskets look quite elegant, but they become rough and unsuitable for food.

In autumn, the plants are cut, the rhizomes are spud, and in the Middle Lane they are additionally covered with spruce branches and covering material. In regions where there are no problems with spring support, it can be covered with leaves or straw. In winter, you should try to keep snow on the artichoke plantings.

Read the next part. Artichoke Recipes in Italian Cuisine →

Svetlana Shlyakhtina, Yekaterinburg

Photo by Olga Rubtsova and E. Valentinov

Popular by topic