The leaf stalks and midrib of cardoon have a similar flavor to artichoke when boiled (not for eating raw). Both portions are commonly used as a side vegetable, addition to stuffing, or in soups and stews. Cardoon must be blanched before it can be eaten. To blanch, tie the stalks up firmly and wrap with black plastic or black and white newspaper. If left unharvested, the 3-4' tall plants will produce large purple, thistle-like flowers. The sharply lobed and serrated, silver-green leaves add a unique addition to flower arrangements. Perennial in Zones 6-10. Avg. 10,000 seeds/lb. Packet: 25 seeds.
Latin Name: Cynara cardunculus
Days to Maturity or Bloom:
Shipping Information & Notes
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CULTURE: Cardoon requires very fertile, well-drained soils in a pH range of 6.5–8.0. Cardoon is vigorous and can be started 6–8 weeks prior to last frost date. Sow 2-3 seeds per cell in plug trays or individual containers ¼" deep. Germinate at 70–80°F (21–26°C) and keep soil moist until emergence. Thin to one plant per cell when the first true leaves appear. As soon as seedlings can be handled, transplant to 4" pots or 1½" cell-type containers, if necessary, and grow at 60–70°F (15–21°C) day and 50–60°F (10–15°C) night. Transplant 6- to 12-week-old plants to the field 2–3' apart in rows 4–6' apart. Perennial to Zone 6, otherwise, treat as an annual. BLANCHING: Gather stalks in late summer or early fall, tie upright with twine, and wrap with black plastic or black and white newspaper to exclude sunlight. Blanching is done for 3–4 weeks during the cooler weather of early fall. HARVEST: Harvest after blanching, cutting at the base of the stalks to keep intact. SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: Avg. 12,350. PACKET: 25 seeds unless otherwise noted.