How to grow cardoon from seed

Cardoon originated from Europe. The botanical name is Cynara cardunculus and the common name is Cardoon. Cardoon is actually a tender perennial vegetable that is grown as an annual. Cardoon can be sow or transplant into the garden three to four weeks after the average last frost date in spring. You can start cardoon from seed indoors six weeks before transplanting it into the garden. This plant is grown for its young leaf-stalks and it will be ready for harvest 120 to 150 days after planting.

Furthermore, Cardoon actually looks like a cross between celery and burdock. Cardoon is however grown for its young leaf-stalks which are blanched and eaten like celery. Cardoons also have heavy, gray-green, fuzzy leaves that are deeply cut leaves and a heavy, bristled flower head. This vegetable plant is a member of the artichoke family and it can grow up to four feet tall and two feet wide.

How to Planting Cardoon

Site preparation: for optimal growth, grow it in full sun. The plant can tolerate partial shade. Make sure you plant them in a well-drained soil rich in organic matter. You can prepare the beds in advance with aged compost. This plant prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0.

The planting time: Like I said earlier Cardoon is a tender perennial vegetable grown as an annual. Cardoon is best grown from transplants set in the garden three to four weeks after the average last frost date in spring. You can start the cardoon from seed indoors six weeks before transplanting. Cardoon germinates best at 75°F (24°C). It will be ready for harvest about 120 days after planting them.

The planting and spacing: You can sow the cardoon seed ¼ inches deep. Thin cardoon from eighteen to twenty-four inches apart. Space rows thirty-six to forty-eight inches apart.

Companion plants for cardoon: Perennial vegetables like asparagus, not root vegetables or vines.

Growing cardoons in container: Actually this plant does not grow well in containers. You can choose a 5-gallon (19 liter) container to grow one cardoon.

Caring for Cardoon Plant

Watering and feeding: Water your cardoon regularly but allow plants to dry out between watering.

You can add aged compost to the planting beds before planting and again at midseason.

Plant Care: Actually Cardoon is commonly blanched to improve the flavor and to make it more tender. About three to four weeks before harvest, when the plant is three feet tall, tie the leaves together in a bunch and wrap paper or burlap around the stems to about eighteen high, or hill up the soil around the stems.

Pest control: Insects like Aphids can attack cardoon. You can easily pinch out the infested foliage or spay the aphids off the plants with a blast of water.

Diseases control: This plant doesn’t really have serious disease problems.

How to harvest and Store Cardoon

Harvesting cardoon: Your Cardoon will be ready for harvest four to six weeks after blanching. You can cut the stalks off at the ground level and then trim away the leaves.

Storing cardoon: You can keep the cardoon stalks in the refrigerator for one to two weeks. Make sure you wrap them in paper or plastic. Cardoon can be canned, frozen or dried; handle them like celery.

Best Cardoon Varieties to Grow

The following are the best Cardoon varieties to grow; ‘Ivory White Smooth’, ‘Large Smooth Spanish’; ‘Large Smooth’. You can grow any variety available in your area.

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