"Gardening makes my heart bloom" -- mum

"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat." -- Confucius

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Artichoke - not guilty Your Honour

Would you sue a restaurant because you've ingested a whole artichoke?  I came across this story whilst reading a Roll On Friday newsletter yesterday.  Lets hope common sense will prevail.

Frost covered Violetta di Chioggia
Artichokes were alien vegetables to me when I first set eyes on them in Australia.  I had no clue on how to cook or eat one.  My first tasting was of the canned and vinegared version which put me off for the next 10 years.  Then, three years ago, I was introduced to the real thing: bought fresh from a Greek greengrocers in North London, trimmed and served raw with a bit of olive oil - heaven!  Even the stems tasted delicious.
Winter garden installation -
what will the neighbours think?
I tried growing artichokes in the spring of 2009.  It was a dismal failure.  All four plants melted into a clump of mush within days of arriving from a mail order nursery.  Perhaps clay soil is not conducive to the health of these sun-loving mediterranean plants? 

This summer, I spotted some magnificent specimens growing in a friend's garden and was chuffed to bits when, a week later, he gifted me with two Violetta di Chioggia.  Yep, he also gave me that aubergine plant.

I planted these on both sides of the garden to maximise the chances of at least one surviving.  They became total aphid and ant magnets all through summer and autumn, resulting in stunted growth.  Then quite suddenly it seemed, when I wasn't looking, they took off, sprouting large healthy leaves.

Sitting snug under it's very own garden chair

Two nights ago, I got a bit worried about frost killing off my 'experimental' artichokes, so I did a bit of research and found some great posts in Toad's Garden's interesting blog.  The next morning the entire garden was covered in a sheet of white frost.

Not being able to lay my hands on any clear glass or plastic covering at short notice, I sat plastic chairs over the plants. Hopefully this will protect the heart of the plant from icing over. Will they survive the winter?  We shall see.

Maybe I'll grow some from seed next year.....


Matron said...

I had no problem keeping mine over Winter for 3 or 4 years. The last couple of winters here have been exceptionally cold, so I'm not sure if they would have survived that. I'm not currently growing any, they take up a lot of space and I just can't work out how to stop the blackfly infesting the whole head! Impossible to clean.

Dim Sum Gardener said...

Alas, the artichokes did not survive the winter. I've planted four more in the hope that at least one would survive the coming winter and this time I shall provide better protection. Blackflies are such a pain! I'm encouraging the ladybird population in the garden by letting the dandelions multiply :D