Cardoon is a perennial of the Composite family and a close relation of artichoke. They both have a common wild origin in Southern Europe. Here it is cultivated as an annual. Cardoon is grown because of its edible leaf-stems and the interior of the root can be used as well. This plant can grow really large and is very decorative in the garden with its strong, silver-green, deeply cut leaves and white under-side. It wants well fertilized, well drained soil and must not dry out.
SOWING: Cardoon needs quite a long season and must be pre-cultivated because of it. Sow indoors or in a hotbed 1-2cm deep, 6-8weeks before setting them out, when the soil has warmed up a bit. It grows quickly and tolerates some frost in autumn.
SPACING: Give the plants ample space, at least 60cm mutually.
HARVEST: To get the coveted, mild taste, the stems must be blanched for 3-4 weeks before harvest. Tie cardboard, strong paper or a bag around them or bank up around the stems. At harvest the leaves and the outermost stems are trimmed away. The remaining stems are boiled soft and freed of eventual noticeable strips. Enjoy them as they are with butter or use them instead of bulb-fennel or celery in various recipes. They can also be eaten raw when the strips have been drawn away.
SEEDS: 1g contains 25 seeds. One portion yields 20-30 seedlings.