A large-garden vegetable in the luxury class, and not for small-space growing, the cardoon is as thistly in aspect as the globe artichoke. Parts eaten are the blanched (whitened) stalks and the thick leaf ribs; cut for use, the appearance is that of celery.
Soil must be rich and moist. General requirements are those of celery. They are ready for use in October and onwards.
Ground that does not dry out easily is ideal. It should be dug deeply, and whatever manure (or hop manure) is available should be worked in; well-rotted leaf-mould may serve as a substitute provided it is used generously.
When and How to Sow.
Late April or early May is the time to sow outdoors, on the prepared site. Sow three or four seeds together, 1 in. deep, at 18-in. intervals. Thin out each group to a single plant when about 2 in. high.
Staking, Watering, Blanching.
Two-foot stakes should be put to the plants when about 1 ft. high, and ample water supplies are essential. In August, or early September, the plants will be ready for blanching. Procedure is as follows: Gather the leaves of each plant together at the top, tie them with raffia or string; then wind strips of brown paper around from soil level to the dps; then pack soil completely around the plant to prevent all light from reaching it.
Blanching will be completed in about eight weeks, when soil and paper wrappings are removed and the plants dug up for use.
Preparing for Table.
Trim the lower end neatly, remove the upper leaves, and wash thoroughly. The whitened growths are cooked like celery.