Cardoon, also known as Texas Celery, artichoke thistle and cardi, requires a long growing season, so starting seeds in the earliest part of spring is advised. In general, cardoon grows the largest in good, deep soil and with frequent watering. Pests are minimal, and the perennial plants are drought-tolerant, although a lack of water reduces its size. Cardoons need to have their stems blanched or they will be intolerably bitter. A month of being tied up and kept in the dark will make the stems much sweeter.

by Dani Yokhna

Size: About 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide

Sunlight requirements: Full sun, though partial shade is tolerated

Water requirements: Regular watering

Soil requirements: Well-drained soil rich in organic matter with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0

When to plant: Early spring

Where to plant: Sunny, sheltered site

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When to harvest: Three to four weeks after harvest. Trim off roots, and remove outer leaves

Produce storage: Cool shed or cellar

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