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Also called Artichoke Thistle or Cardoni, this thistle-like plant is native to the Mediterranean found in many southern French and Italian dishes. A beautiful ornamental, with stalks that are delicious steamed or braised, with an artichoke-like flavor.
Nutrients: vitamins C, B6, folate (high), pantothenic acid, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, copper, manganese.
Cardoon is moderately frost hardy and perennial in Zone 7 and warmer. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil.
Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before danger of last frost. Plant seeds 1/4" deep in 6" containers. Transplant after danger of frost with 18-24" between plants. To obtain white, tender leaf stalks, blanch stalks for 4 weeks before harvest by wrapping with newspaper and securing with string.
To encourage overwintering, cut plants in fall to about 8-10 inches above ground and cover with straw or leaves.
Leaf stalks will be ready to harvest in 120-150 days.
if the flowers are allowed to mature, seed is produced readily, as one flower can pollinate another on the same plant (though not itself). It sometimes self-sows itself vigorously and can become a pest. Collect seed from the spent flower heads. Will cross with artichokes.