Giant, vigorous plant with crunchy, large white ribs. Serrated leaves without spines. Blanche before leaves eating. The flower buds can be eaten like artichoke. The seeds are edible ( and particularly good with squash, sweet potato or pork ), they can even be added to pickle jars. USDA 5-9. The plants make an attractive architectural addition to a border or the vegetable garden.
Cardoon seeds indoors 4 – 6 weeks before the last frost. Cardoon herb seeds can be started in small peat pots with seed starting mix. Transplant outdoors into the herb garden after the danger of frost has passed. The Cardoon plant prefers full sun and soil rich in organic matter. Cardoons prefer a well-drained but moisture-retentive soil and a full sun position. They can be planted out from late April onwards until August/September. Set plants 3 feet x 3 feet apart (90 cm x 90 cm) as they need a lot of space. Water well in dry spells. Plants are ready to be blanched in last summer or early autumn. To blanch, gather the leaves together at the top of each plant, tie with soft string, and then wrap the plant with brown paper and earth up the plant at its base, to keep out the light. About two months after blanching, either cut down the entire plant at the base or remove individual stems as required. Remove autumn dieback and protect the crowns from frost with straw or similar over the winter.