Artichoke Violet (Cynara Scolymus) – The Globe Artichoke has a tuberous root, but it is the large flower-buds that form the edible portion of the plant. The expanded flower has much resemblance to a large thistle. The flower buds are edible in the early summer, each plant producing 3 – 4 the first year. Each bud will be 2 – 5 inch in diameter with good tender hearts. Hardy varieties do well in cooler climates.
Artichokes are one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables, grown by the Greeks and the Romans in the heyday of their power. The chard of artichokes, or the tender central leaf-stalks, blanched, is by some considered to be equal to the Cardoon.
Artichokes can be grown from seed sown in spring when frost season is completely over, in a deep, moist, rich soil which may be greatly aided by wood-ashes and seaweed. The artichoke is hardy on dry soils in winters of only average severity. If you want to overwinter the plants, cut them off 8 – 10 inches above ground in early winter, and cover with straw. Next season’s crop will be rooted offshoots of the parent plants. To harvest: cut the flowers before they begin to open.