Plant globe artichokes now to enjoy one of the gourmet highlights of the veg garden as well as adding a handsome, architectural plant to your back garden display.
Globe artichokes are among the most beautiful of vegetable plants, with jagged silvery leaves which grow a whopping 1.5m tall and wide. They make a striking feature plant, especially when topped with those tall flower spikes: leave a few on the plant to open into huge, brilliant purple flowers which the bees adore.
Artichokes need a warm, sheltered, sunny spot in free-draining soil – add loads of gravel to the planting hole if your ground is on the damp side. You can raise them from seed, but to be sure what you’re getting it’s better to buy in a sturdy, healthy young plant from the garden centre here in Bitton and Warminster. As well as the standard green globe artichokes you’ll also find purple varieties, said to have a richer flavour.
Globe artichokes stay productive for about five years, eventually producing up to ten heads per plant once mature: cut flowerheads while they’re still closed, usually in July, and boil for about 40 minutes before peeling off the scales to eat the fleshy bases, dipped in hollandaise sauce.