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Artichokes

You either like Artichokes or you don't and the majority of folk don't because they have never tried them. Apart from any claims as an agreeable vegetable they have other uses in a garden-decorative and utility and surely this can apply to few vegetables. So if you approach these vegetables warily, set out with the idea of using them as an adornment and useful plant to have in the garden. The two main types are Globe and Jerusalem, the globe being the one with decorative silvery leaves and a flower head like a big thistle. I used to think what a waste of time and space it was to grow these big plants to get a few heads off the top, until I found they made most attractive plants in the herbaceous border for screening an unsightly corner or building. With their large leaves and a height of 6 feet or more, the leaves revealing an attractive grey silver underside in the slightest breeze, they make a perfect foil to summer flowers. This is, r think, the best place for them in an ordinary domestic garden.
artchokes growing advice

Varieties

Globe Artichoke

Is a perennial and can be grown from seed sown in the spring, or small plants may be obtained. Allow 3 feet from the nearest plant or shrub as they get pretty big, but as they are best split up and divided every 3-4 years, treat as an ordinary herbaceous perennial giving the same good treatment with regard to soil preparation. To cook, cut off the thistle-like heads, trim off the prickly leaf tips, soak for half an hour in tepid salted water, boil till tender, about half an hour for large heads, drain and serve with butter. They need a little protection in the winter, but if the leaves are put over the crown and tied in position in late autumn this suffices in most districts.

Jerusalem Artichoke

These crop at the bottom like potatoes which they resemble in several ways. The tops are, however, much like sunflowers and if a row is planted on the windward side of a garden make an excellent windbreak. They do need a well-drained soil and treatment as would be given to potatoes in the matter of manuring, otherwise the tubers come so small that they are not worth cooking. The recipe book should be studied before cooking, for although they make an excellent soup and can be used in several ways, if they are just plain boiled you will be put off them for ever. My favourite way is the same as for parsnips, cut into large chips, partly boil, dry and fry golden brown in deep fat. Lift as required, save a few tubers for seed, dig in compost and re-set about I ft. apart. Try to get up all the small ones or the row will be choked with small useless growths. They require no staking or attention during the growing season except a dose of organic fertiliser and as previously stated have a claim in a windy garden as an effective windbreak.

Chinese Artichoke

Easy to grow on well cultivated light soil this crop likes the sun. The spirally twisted tubers vary in length from ] to 3 in. and at their widest part are about an inch thick. They mature from November onwards and should be dug as required. Use as soon as lifted and do not allow them to remain in the light or they will become dis­coloured.

 

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