Artichoke, Globe

Jan / Feb, Mar / Apr
Jul / Aug, Sep / Oct

Why Grow It

Globe artichokes are grown for the dense hearts that are inside huge flowerheads, which grow on top of thistle-like plants. Despite sharing the same nomenclature, they are no relation to Jerusalem artichokes, which are grown for their knobbly tubers.

However, globe artichokes are no stranger to criticism by some growers due to their low yield (a plant that takes up a metre of space produces just a dozen heads). But they have a lot to offer both in your garden and on your plate.

They are an extremely nutritious vegetable and a great addition to any diet. Due to their low yield they can be tricky to acquire from a local grower, which is the perfect reason why you should grow them yourself. They are also one of the most beautiful foods you can grow in your garden – in many countries globe artichokes have become a regular addition to flower beds for their architectural appeal. In fact, we grow them in the beds in our car park at GROW HQ for both their beauty and their (low-yielding) bounty.

  • Before you get planting, location is key. Globe artichokes need a fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered position.
  • Decide whether you want to sow seeds or plant rooted offsets (i.e. young plants). It is our recommendation to plant offsets – these can be bought from garden centres or can be obtained from another grower.
  • Growing from seed is possible, but many GIYers use more reliable ‘offsets’, which are the sideshoots from an established plant. They will need a very fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered position.
  • To grow from seed, sow seeds in module trays indoors in March – plant them on in to larger 10cm pots and plant out in June after hardening off.
  • Space them at least one metre apart.
  • Cover the plants with fleece if there is a risk of frost.
  • Offsets are planted about 5cm deep. Trim the leaves to 13cm after planting.
  • Keep plants weed free and water well.
  • In the first year remove the flowerhead as soon as it appears – this will give you a better crop the next year.
  • To prepare plants for the winter, remove any dead stems and dying foliage. Fork over the soil around the plants and then put a thick layer of well-rotted manure or compost around them. Give them a high potash liquid feed in the spring.
  • Harvest the largest, top globe first when it turns fat and soft and just before the scales start to open out. Cut a short length of stalk with it.
  • Then harvest the other heads as they mature.
  • You will get approx a dozen of them between June and August.
  • Globe artichokes will produce globes every year for 3-4 years and then they start to produce progressively less. At this stage, it’s worth propagating new plants by cutting offsets from old ones. So their lifespan is about 5 years in total.
  • Violetto di Chioggia
  • Green Globe
  • Globe artichokes are relatively problem free apart from the usual suspects – snails, slugs, aphids, etc.
  • Make sure you water the plants well in the summer – if they don’t have enough water you will end up with disappointingly small globes.
  • Globe artichokes make a beautiful, edible addition to the flower border