Cardoon is a tender perennial vegetable often grown as an annual. Cardoon looks like a cross between burdock and celery. It is grown for its young leaf stalks which are blanched and eaten like celery.
Cardoon has heavy, gray-green, fuzzy leaves that are deeply cut leaves and a heavy, bristled flower head. Cardoon is a member of the artichoke family and can grow up to 4 feet (1.2m) tall and 2 feet (.6m) wide.
Carden Quick Growing Tips
- Sow or transplant cardoon into the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the average last frost date in spring.
- Start cardoon from seed indoors 6 weeks before transplanting it into the garden.
- Cardoon, which is grown for its young leaf stalks, will be ready for harvest 120 to 150 days after planting.
Where to Plant Cardoon
- Grow cardoon in full sun; cardoon will tolerate partial shade.
- Plant cardoon in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Prepare beds in advance with aged compost.
- Cardoon prefers a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
When to Plant Cardoon
- Cardoon is a tender perennial vegetable often grown as an annual.
- Set cardoon transplants in the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the average last frost date in spring.
- Start cardoon from seed indoors 6 weeks before transplanting.
- Cardoon seed germinates best at 75°F (24°C).
- Cardoon will be ready for harvest about 120 days after planting.
How to Plant Cardoon
- Sow cardoon seed ¼ inch deep.
- Thin cardoon from 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) apart.
- Space rows 36 to 48 inches (76-122cm) apart.
- Yield: plant 1 or 2 cardoons for each household member.
Cardoon Companion Plants
- Grow cardoon with other perennial vegetables such as asparagus; not root vegetables or vines. It needs a dedicated growing space.
Container Growing Cardoon
- Choose a 5-gallon (19 liter) container or larger to grow one cardoon.
Watering and Feeding Cardoon
- Evenly water cardoon but allow plants to dry out between watering.
- Add aged compost to planting beds before planting and again at midseason.
Cardoon Care and Maintenance
- Cardoon is commonly blanched to improve the flavor and to make it more tender.
- About 3 to 4 weeks before harvest, when the plant is 3 feet (.9m) tall, tie the leaves together in a bunch and wrap paper or burlap around the stems to about 18 inches 45cm) high, or hill up soil around the stems.
Cardoon Pests and Diseases
- Aphids can attack cardoon. Pinch out infested foliage or spay aphids off plants with a blast of water.
- Cardoon has no serious disease problems.
How to Harvest Cardoon
- Cardoon will be ready for harvest 4 to 6 weeks after blanching.
- Cut stalks off at ground level and trim away the leaves.
Storing and Preserving Cardoon
- Cardoon stalks will keep in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. Wrap them in paper or plastic.
- Cardoon can be frozen, canned, or dried; handle it like celery.
Cardoon Varieties to Grow
- Varieties: ‘Large Smooth’; ‘Large Smooth Spanish’; ‘Ivory White Smooth’. Grow any variety available in your area.
- Common name. Cardoon
- Botanical name. Cynara cardunculus
- Origin. Europe
Grow 80 vegetables: THE KITCHEN GARDEN GROWERS’ GUIDE