How to cultivate Artichoke
Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus)
The artichoke is a perennial plant that reaches a height of 35 to 70 inches (90-180 cm). It belongs to the family of asteroid (Asteraceae). It blooms in autumn with blue-violet flowers that resemble those of thistle. The plant is perennial, so we not need planting each year. On summer, the upper part of the plant desiccates and the basement goes into dormancy until the first rain or watering autumn. The artichoke is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin and vitamin C. It is used for human food, livestock feed and biofuel.
Professional cultivation of Artichoke
Contemporary agricultural practices suggest that we first sow artichoke seeds in seedbed or pots, and about two months later we transplant. We can also use grafts. Though grafts, we can harvest greater yield especially in the first year, but it a rather more expensive method.
A suitable temperature for the development of the artichoke is 59 – 68 ° F (15-20 ° C). It thrives in areas with full sun or partial shade. It also needs light soils, fertile, well-drained. Ideal soils are sandy or loamy with pH 6,5-8. Adding well digested manure will definitely benefit their development.
We plant mainly offshoots that we get from the germination of buds of the rhizome in autumn, we separate them from the plant when they reach 11 inches (30 cm) in height. We should plant immediately after removal from the plant to a depth of 6- 8 inches (15-20) cm. We must leave a distance of 40 inches (100 cm) between them.
For sowing, we need 42-50 oz (1200-1500 grams) of seed per hectare in seed depth of 0,4 inches (1 cm). It is recommended to use a good sowing machine. When transplanting, we place about 8.000 to 11.000 plants per hectare. We leave a distance of 40 inches (100 cm) between rows and 35 inches (90 cm) between plants. The seeding temperature should be 64 to 77 ° F (18 to 25 ° C). We must irrigate regularly, but not exaggerate. The duration of the cultivation is 2-3 years. The average yield per hectare depends on the variety and number of plants per hectare, ranging from 60.000 to 180.000 heads / hectare. We harvest from November until May, depending on the variety and the climate of the region. We cut the artichoke head along with a part from a stem 2,7 to 3,2 inches (7-8 cm) long. To encourage the development of side shoots, we prune the shoot that has remained at 11 inches (30 cm). The artichoke remains fresh for eight days from the cutting. Along with artichokes can grow cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.
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