The artichoke belongs to the category of perennial and herbaceous plants and has a typically Mediterranean origin: in fact, it is a plant that develops above all in all those areas and places that are characterized by rather high temperatures throughout the course of the year.
In any case, the artichoke is a plant already particularly widespread since ancient times: in fact, already at the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks it was used because of its beneficial properties (especially on the digestive system), but also because it is it is a particularly useful spice to give greater flavor to chicken, pork and rabbit meats.
The artichoke plant has a typically tap root and, during the spring, the first leaves usually sprout, which are characterized by having a typical green color tending to gray and in the central part of the final rosette we can find the classic branched stem, to which ends are the flower heads.
It is precisely the flower heads that are used in the kitchen, since they represent the edible and most tender part of the whole artichoke plant.
The artichoke plant is grown as a productive plant and, for this reason, it can be exploited for up to a maximum of a decade.
The spontaneous development of the "fruits" of the artichoke, which are represented as previously mentioned by the flower heads, occurs during the period between the final part of the winter season and spring, even if modern cultivation practices are often used for which the artichoke it is also produced during the period between autumn and winter.
There artichoke plant it is grown both in the garden and inside the complete field and from each plant there is the possibility of obtaining up to a maximum number of flower heads equal to ten: this explains the reason why there is no need to have so many plants, as they are very productive.
The sowing of the artichoke plant it can be made either by seed or by the agamic method (in the latter case, alternatively, using carducci or ova).
This operation must always be carried out inside a sheltered seedbed: the period, usually, is that corresponding to the winter season, while if the protected seedbed is not available, then it is better to focus on the spring season; alternatively, sowing in full field should take place during the month of May.
Inside the seedbed, then, the seed must be introduced by forming rows and paying particular attention to never go beyond one and a half centimeters in depth.
The artichoke plant is characterized by developing in the best way within all those places that have a typically mild and dry climate, despite being able to adapt quite well even to those climates with rather cold temperatures (but not too much).
Among the main dangers, related to the soil, that can arise for the artichoke plant, we certainly find the temperature changes and frost, which can create even substantial damage to the plant.
As far as the soil is concerned, the artichoke plant is instead characterized by developing excellently on all those soils that have a medium mixture, but are equally rich and deep (the level of skeleton must always be rather limited), but also manages to grow on all those very clayey or even calcareous soils, up to develop (albeit with some difficulty) even in brackish and acidic soils.
The ovules of the artichoke plant must be removed from the main structure during the summer season.
The first thing to do is to let them germinate: it is advisable to keep them one on top of the other and then make them a little moist for at least two consecutive days.
The next step will be to plant the eggs inside the garden, after having made holes at a good depth (at least twenty centimeters), always respecting the distances of at least 100 centimeters between one plant and another (often a greater distance, around 120 centimeters).
In case you want to obtain a production during the spring season, then the carducci must be removed from the main plant already during the autumn, while for those who want a production concentrated in the autumn and winter season, then the carducci must be planted inside the artichoke field during the spring season.
The main dangers for the artichoke plant come directly from snails and mice: specifically, voles are the most important enemies, since they are able to create rather large damage to the roots of this herbaceous perennial, sometimes even irreparable. .
In any case, among the various categories of insects that are dangerous for the artichoke plant we find aphids, the grillotalpa and the beetle: however, the insect that produces the greatest damage is represented by the nocturnal of the artichoke, which disposei larvae that they are able to penetrate inside the leaves (in this case the use of pyrethrum or rotenone is recommended).
Moving the attention to the main diseases, however, the white malady (yellow spots on the leaves) immediately catches the eye, on which a mold with a typical whitish color can also often form.
Technical data sheet to best cultivate your artichoke plants. Advice on transplanting, soil preparation, irrigation and fertilization.
Technical Data Sheets Hybrid Artichoke from seed
Multi-year plant (also lasts 3-4 years and more) to be renewed
Edible part: fleshy part of the bracts and heart of the flower head, stem or flower scape
Sixth of implant: 1 m in the row and 1 m between the rows (density: 1000 plants / 1000 m2)
Nutritional characteristics: very energetic food due to the carbohydrate content, among which inulin deserves attention, which does not increase blood sugar for this reason, artichoke can be consumed at will by diabetics. Other features are the high fiber content and low fat content.
Medicinal properties: aperitive, diuretic, hepatoprotective, hypocholesterolemic, hypoglycemic, laxative, metabolizing, cytotoxic, antineoplastic purifying action, etc.
Cycle length of plants obtained from seed from transplantation: 150-180 days 90-120 days with gibberellic acid treatments (GA3).
From the appearance of the scape to the harvest: 10 days
Ground: it adapts to all types of soil, but prefers medium-textured ones. Before planting it is important to prepare the soil by deep tillage (plowing) creating good drainage to reduce the risk of root rot.
Irrigation: supply water from July to October-November based on the climatic trend of the year. To save water, the installation of a drip irrigation system is recommended.
Fertilizations: to be carried out, in a balanced way, up to the formation of the flower head. Avoid nitrogen excesses as they favor excessive leaf development and make the plant more susceptible to disease. It is advisable to operate as follows:
Treatments to anticipate the formation of the flower head: in the juvenile phase it is possible to intervene with foliar spraying of gibberellic acid (GA3) in three phases of the cycle:
Doses GA3: 10 ppm / hl water for early varieties 30 ppm / hl for medium late varieties.
Adversity: Downy mildew (Bremia lactucae), Oidium (Leivellula taurica), Parasitic insects (Aphids, Noctuids, Diptera agromizidi, etc.), Rodents, Snails, Nematodes. During the entire vegetative cycle it is recommended to carry out preventive pesticide treatments, by means of foliar spraying, for optimal control of these parasites.
N.b .: The data shown are purely indicative and may vary considerably according to the different cultivation areas and some important variables (climate, soil, water, etc.).
Why choose the artichoke obtained from seed:
Hybrid of the Romanesco type of high quality and ideal color. Exceptional productivity and uniformity. The plant is very vigorous and ...
Artichoke plants love sunny places and a mild climate. They tolerate low temperatures (up to 0 ° C) but strongly fear frost and frost.
It is a plant that prefers well-worked limestone soils, humid and rich in organic matter.
Artichoke plants need frequent irrigation especially in summer and in periods of prolonged drought. They fear water stagnation and therefore the soil must be irrigated only when it is completely dry. The most common irrigation method is the drip method.
The fertilizations, rich in nitrogen (N) and potassium (K), are to be done at the vegetative restart of the plants, at the moment of unhinging to favor the enlargement of the stems. Fertilizers rich in phosphorus (P) must be administered at the emission of the main flower heads.
If the soil in which the artichokes are planted has been properly fertilized the previous year, no fertilization will be required.
The multiplication of the artichoke occurs by seed, by means of the basal suckers called carducci or by portion of the rhizome.
The best time to sow artichokes it is the month of May. The seeds should be placed in the well-worked soil at a depth of about 40 cm.
There technique most used for the propagation of artichokes is through the use of carducci.
The best time for the plant of artichoke plants is the beginning of spring or the end of autumn.
Plants o carducci they must be planted in the ground at a depth of about forty centimeters at a distance of about 60 cm on the row and 1 meter between the rows.
After planting, the plants should be watered abundantly.
A typical vegetable of the Mediterranean areas, as evidenced by the writings of some ancient authors, it continued to be appreciated during the Roman era. More certain information on its cultivation in Italy dates back to the fifteenth century, when from the Naples area, where it was introduced by Filippo Strozzi, the cultivation of the artichoke spread first in Tuscany, Caterina dei Medici was a great consumer, and subsequently in many other regions.
Roman sweet violets, violets of Tuscany, spiny of Liguria are the most common varieties, between March and April the artichokes are in full production, an invitation to taste them in all ways. Roman artichokes are the symbol of vegetable Lazio and many towns are at the center of festivals and fairs.
Roman artichokes are large and with an almost round head, have little waste and are the most suitable to be cooked stuffed. There edible part of the plant is actually the flower and the central heart called "cimarolo”Is the most sought after, and consequently also the most expensive, because it is more tender and with the most seriate leaves. Artichokes can be cooked in various ways: alla romana, alla giudia, alla siciliana, fried to name some of the most famous recipes.
When they are young and tender, however, it is advisable to eat them raw, cut into slices, seasoned with oil, lemon and a few mint leaves.
Once cooked, artichokes keep poorly and must therefore be consumed within a short time. In the refrigerator, with a temperature of 0-1 ° C and a relative humidity of 95%, artichokes can be stored for 30 days.
This vegetable, in addition to being appreciated by the majority of palates, has always been considered a remedy for the most varied problems of the organism.
For popular culture it has therapeutic and healthy virtues thanks to the richness of its composition: sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins (A, B1, B2, C, PP), malic acid, citric acid, tannins and sugars also allowed for diabetics, artichoke is therefore traditionally: tonic, liver stimulator, cough suppressant, helps purify the blood, fortifies the heart, dissolves stones and detoxifies.
In addition, thanks to cynarin, a particular bitter substance contained in the leaves, stem and inflorescence, the artichoke has a beneficial action on bile secretion, promotes renal diuresis and regulates intestinal functions.
Finally, due to the presence of vitamin compounds, it reduces the permeability and fragility of the capillaries. In cosmetics, on the other hand, the juice has a bioactivating, vivifying and toning action for devitalized and pimply skin.
Artichokes are very ductile and go well with any type of meat and also many fish but .... with which wine? Due to their high iron content, they leave an almost metallic taste in the mouth and it is therefore very difficult to combine them with a wine, however the dishes that include pasta or rice can be accompanied by a light rosé, while fried artichokes and artichoke omelettes are they go well with a structured and soft white wine. Unfortunately, raw artichokes only accept water!
There is one precise technique to clean the artichoke: the stem is eliminated in whole or in part depending on how it is to be cooked. The outer leaves are discarded and the upper part of the others is cut, leaving only the clear one. Finally, the tip of the artichoke is cut and the bottom is turned, discarding the hard and fibrous rind.
Before cutting them into wedges, they dig slightly in the center to remove the hay.
During cleaning and until the moment of cooking, they must remain immersed in water acidulated with lemon juice to prevent them from blackening.
Who does not remember the advertisement for a famous artichoke-based liqueur that promises to fight the stress of modern life?
It is not known whether consumers really feel calmer after a glass of the bitter, for sure there are several scientific studies that demonstrate a series of positive effects related to the intake of cynarin, the active ingredient contained in the leaves and in the juice of the plant. .
The first is the antidispeptic one, in particular choleretic, another is the ability to reduce lipemia, in particular the total quantity and the LDL fraction of cholesterol and triglycerides.
The mechanism of action is not yet clear but it would seem that the active ingredients are some acids capable of stimulating in the liver the promotion of blood circulation, the mobilization of reserve energies, the increase in hepatocytes with a double nucleus, the increase of the RNA contained in liver cells, and the activation of cellular mitosis.
If you want to do it at home artichoke-based remedies you can prepare tinctures, wine and decoctions suitable for liver and biliary dysfunctions, against rheumatism, arthritis and gout. The decoction is also suitable for compresses and washes to cleanse the skin of the face.
It is a typically Mediterranean perennial plant, which grows spontaneously in warmer areas.
Since the fifteenth century the artichoke has been used for food use. The root is taproot and from it, in spring, gray-green leaves sprout and from the center of the final rosette in spring a branched stem emerges that ends with a flower head.
These flower heads, an edible part of the artichoke, have an enlarged, fleshy base, with bracts in the shape of scales which in some varieties end with a thorn. The plant, as mentioned above, is perennial, but is grown as a productive plant for a maximum of ten years.
The spontaneous production of artichokes is at the end of winter - spring, but with appropriate cultivation techniques it can also be produced in autumn - winter. It is grown in the vegetable garden or in the open field from each plant you can collect a dozen artichokes, so in a modest plot you can have sufficient quantities even by growing a few plants.
It grows in a mild and dry climate although it adapts to relatively cold climates. It fears sudden changes in temperature and frost.
It likes soils of medium texture, rich and deep with little skeleton, but also adapts to clayey or calcareous, peaty and acid or even brackish soils.
The eggs are detached from the mother plant in the summer. They are made to sprout by keeping them massed and moistened for a couple of days and then planted in the garden in furrows or holes about twenty centimeters deep at a distance between the plants of one meter - one meter and twenty minimum in stable plants, while in annuals you can arrange the closest artichokes. To obtain a spring production, the carducci are detached from the mother plant in October. They are planted in a deep hole, using the same precautions already mentioned above, and with the first colds they huddle up. In spring they are hoed and fertilized at the foot and already from the first year a satisfactory production can be had.
Snails and mice, especially voles, can cause severe root damage. Among the insects we remember the aphids, the beetle and the grillotalpa, but particularly harmful is the artichoke noctua whose larvae dig tunnels inside the veins of the leaves and can be fought by eliminating the infested plants or with treatments based on pyrethrum The vanessa del artichoke , a small butterfly whose larvae first gnaw the underside of the leaf, and then the entire leaf limb. Among the cryptogamic diseases it is worth mentioning the white sore that manifests itself on the leaves in the form of yellowing of different extent, in correspondence with which a whitish floury mold appears. The affected parts dry up and tear and the leaf flap bends upwards.
It is carried out by severing with a clean cut the flower heads still in bud, with the bracts tightly closed. The artichokes are removed together with about twenty centimeters of leaf stalk which, devoid of external filaments, is considered edible.
The leaves are harvested in April - May, before flowering, by cutting them off at the base. The rhizome, with its fleshy roots, is harvested in July - August, excavated with a spade and washed to remove the earth. The roots and rhizome are cut into slices one centimeter thick.
Diuretic, purifying, hypocholesterolemic, choleretic, liver protector, digestive, bittering.
Cinarin, glucosides, tannins, inulin.
In the herbal and medicinal use of the Artichoke, the tasty floral part is not used but the actual leaf which is discarded in the kitchen.
Artichoke is recognized to have the properties of stimulating diuresis, lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood, promoting the secretion of bile and making it more fluid, protecting and detoxifying the liver.
This sum of properties also indirectly has a good aesthetic effect as the purifying action of the Artichoke helps to keep the skin healthy and radiant. The roots are useful as a digestive and diuretic.