This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Although belonging to the same family as the Jerusalem Artichoke, this plant is quite distinct in appearance, and resembles a large and coarse-growing grey-green thistle. It is gradually winning its way amongst market gardeners in England, and here and there one may see 1 or 2 ac. of it. It is cultivated for the large globular flower heads, the fleshy bracts of which are eaten. It is essential to cut the flower heads before the blossoms appear, otherwise the bracts will be useless as a comestible. From 13,000 to 20,000 heads, each weighing about 8 oz., can be obtained from 1 ac. of ground.
The Globe Artichoke, for which the demand at present is very limited and local, is grown from plants "suckered" off the parent stools in the early spring, and planted with dibbers in rows 4 ft. apart and 2 ft. 6 in. from plant to plant. It requires a moist soil and a sheltered position. The plant throws up "fruit" like enlarged thistle heads, which are cut with 6 or 7 in. of stem as soon as they are full grown. These heads are dipped in water and packed for market. The price varies, according to the season and the size and quality of the "chokes", from 2s. per dozen down to 8d per dozen.
Fig. 454. - Globe Artichoke - Large Green or De Laon.
Fig. 465. - Seed of the Globe Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus).
The crop, when once established, can remain for several years. The plants will not stand hard frost, so that before winter sets in they must be protected by a covering of mould put up much as celery is banked.[w. G. L].