Growing Globe Artichoke at the Allotment

Growing Globe Artichoke at the Allotment

Globe Artichokes have a similar name to that of the Jerusalem Artichoke but that is where the similarities end. Globe artichokes are part of the thistle family and are grown for their flower heads. 

They can be grown from seed or young plants to grow on in containers, or the rooted clumps known as suckers. Suckers are a preferred option as seed-grown globe artichchokes are difficult to cultivate.

You can sow your seeds indoors out directly during March-April. Your final growing position needs to factor in that they can grow into very large plants. Allow 2-3ft apart when planting them out and you propagate them by dividing the clumps or suckers and keeping the stronger plants.  They will last for approximately 5 years. Divide them every 2-3 years for a more productive growth.

During Autumn, begin to add mulch and well-rotted manure. They may require fleece protection over winter in colder locations.

In Spring, add well-rotted manure again and some high potassium fertiliser.

Keep them watered and weed-free and for the first year, cut off the flower heads that are forming to strengthen them for the following season's harvest.

Once the flower heads are golf ball sized, before they are opened and flowering, you can cut off the flower heads and a second glut will form and grow. Once they are cut off, cut down the stem approximately half-way. You can repeat; harvesting the second lot of buds.

To cook and eat your globe artichokes, cut the stem with the head and remove damaged scales as well as the pointed ends off the other scales. The central, hairy choke is not edible. Cook by boiling or steaming until they are tender. More mature flower buds take longer, and they are not as flavoursome. 

To eat, suck out the flesh from each scale - You may want to dip or dress the scales in butter or an alternative before then eating the delicious heart at the end! They can also be frozen for storage.



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Growing Globe Artichoke in Summary

Sowing Globe Artichoke

  • Sow or plant out during March-April
  • Allow space for vast growth
  • Mulch with well-rotted manure

Growing Globe Artichoke

  • Protect with fleece in autumn, in colder locations
  • Water and keep weed-free
  • Cut off young flower buds in first year

Harvesting Globe Artichoke

  • June onwards, cut flower head buds before they're opened
  • Cut stems halfway down
  • Boil or steam, can be frozen