Globe artichokes

This year I grew globe artichokes on the allotment; a first for mr digandweed and me.

The globe artichoke is a member of the thistle family and it is easy to see why. The plants are tall and architectural with large deeply lobed leaves. The edible part of the plant is the flower bud, harvested before it has time to flower. Left to flower, the artichoke becomes inedible, but produces a mauve flower very similar to its more common thistle relative.
When, a few months back, I saw a tray of little plants in the garden centre, I snapped them up and found a little corner of the lottie to plant them in.

I think I have only eaten globe artichokes once or twice before ( aside from the artichoke hearts in oil, sold in delis and favoured as part of an Italian -style antipasti platter)
The first time was as a child, when with mum and dad and my big sister we were staying with a French family in their house in the country.
Apart from keeping hens and rabbits, the family had an impressive vegetable garden.  I remember the artichokes being picked for our evening meal. 
Back then, in the mid sixties, the globe artichoke seemed an impossibly exotic vegetable, or at least it did to my childish senses.
The French 'maman' carefully explained how to eat the strange vegetable; how to peel off each leaf, dipping it in vinaigrette before eating just the tip, then discarding the hairy choke in the middle before savouring the delicious fleshy heart.

Well, fast forward several decades and it turns out that the artichoke plant is very easy to grow. Before long tiny flower buds were forming. So, about a week ago and with great excitement, I harvested our first ever artichokes.
After admiring their beauty and photographing them ( as you do!!) I lightly steamed the artichokes and proudly placed them on the dinner table with little pots of garlic mayonnaise.
But something had gone wrong.
There was no tasty tip to the leaves and the succulent heart proved to be the size of a pound coin!
As the mountain of discarded leaves grew and the reality proved to be so different from the anticipated outcome, I was reduced to fits of giggles.

I'm not sure what I did wrong. Any artichoke growing tips gratefully received!
As they say, 'you win some; you lose some'.

Happy weekend everyone.

annjenny x


  1. No tips. I've only tried to grow them once with pretty much the same results. I left the remaining plants to grow into pretty "thistles".

  2. What a shame after all that anticipation. They're perennials, so maybe they will be better next year. If you leave them to flower this year, at least the bees will enjoy them!

  3. I'm in the same boat! New plants this year, except ai haven't cut mine yet. Maybe I'll leave them to flower and see what happens next year. They make a stunning architectural P,a ting even if they leave you hungry...

  4. Oops. Should read "architectural display"

  5. Oh, such a disappointment. Harvesting here (no allotment, just a few pots) hasn't taken long. I've collected precisely two blueberries and three cherry tomatoes. Needless to say, I didn't share!

  6. I am with lovethosecupcakes. Fourteen small tomatoes. That's it. Snails and slugs ate everything else. Grateful for generous friends who have amazing gluts of beans, tomatoes and apples. LTCC, you are not alone in lacking the green-fingers gene!!


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