Garden Felix

GLOBE artichokes are large, architectural perennial plants that are not only a highly nutritious food as their large edible flower buds are delicious to eat – the plant is so attractive that it is also grown as an ornamental flower.

They can be grown from seed or young plants in a warm sunny spot, in fertile, free draining soil.

If starting from seed, sow the seeds into seedling pots, either indoors or outside, during March or April.

Transplant the young plants to their permanent position when they have at least five true leaves, spacing them 2ft-3ft apart, and water in well.

Keep an eye out for slugs and snails, as they like to feed on young seedlings.

Alternatively, you can buy rooted suckers, which can be planted straight into their permanent position in early to mid-Spring.

Keep the plants weed-free and watered during dry weather. Each spring, mulch with well rotted manure.

Feed with a high potassium general fertiliser, which will  improve flower production.

Keep the plants vigorous, with healthy foliage and flowers and strong growing stems. Divide every two to three years.

Garden Felix

Harvest the buds, ideally when they reach the size of a golf ball, before they open and start to flower from June.

After you harvest the main flower bud, secondary buds will appear, and these too can be harvested when they are large enough.

When the artichoke bud is not harvested, it will open into an attractive purple Thistle-like flower, which can be cut for bouquets, dried for arrangements, or left on the plant for a beautiful dramatic display.