This species grows wild in the Mediterranean where it was bred both for its edible leaf stems (Cardoon) and also for its larger edible flower buds (Artichoke, not shown). For Christmas Eve dinner, some Sicilians boil bite-size chunks of Cardoon stem, batter them with flour and beer, and finally deep-fry to perfection. As you might expect, it tastes much like artichoke hearts, and its fleshy stalks can also be stewed or braised. In zones 7 and warmer, its roots will overwinter and will sprout again each spring into a tall grey-green bush with stunning purple flowers that bees adore.
Days to maturity: 60
Seeds per pack: 20
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds indoors as early as January or 8-10 weeks before last frost. Select the strongest seedlings for transplanting in the garden about 1-2 weeks before last frost. Cardoons do not like to be moved, so choose your permanent cardoon plot wisely!
Seed keeping notes
Harvest seed heads when flowers have dried out and puffed out like dandelions. Navigate around the pointy flower bits to root out the hard seeds at the base of the fluffy seed head.