ARTICHOKE

ARTICHOKE

The artichoke, Cynara scolimus by its scientific name, probably derived from the selection of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) native to the Aegean islands and Cyprus. The plant was already known by the Greeks and Romans but its cultivation spread throughout Italy only after 1500. The artichoke belongs to the botanical family of composites and is a perennial plant that reaches a considerable size. Its cultivation can be carried out only in areas where winter temperatures do not drop much below - 4 °C. Plantation is carried out using seedlings derived from offshoots by meristematic or hybrid seeds. The edible part of the artichoke is the still unripe flower. The nutritional value of the artichoke is remarkable because it contains high amounts of vitamins B1 and C and also contains inulin, a sugar that is well-tolerated by diabetics. Artichokes also contain cynarin, a substance that appears to have important pharmacological properties: it stimulates bile secretion, has a mild action in relieving hepatic lesions, and facilitates the elimination of cholesterol.

CULTIVATION

The ground preparation must be done carefully because the cultivation will persist for several years. Fertilization will consist of 5 to 8 kg / sqm of organic compost to which will be added 50g / sqm of superphosphate and potassium sulfate as well. The nitrogen will be added on top of the soil at the moment of the reawaking, intervening with 2 to 3 nitrated interventions with 10g / sqm of ammonium nitrate at a time. The transplanting of seedlings is done in summer/autumn, placing the seedlings at a distance of 0.80 to 1 meter along the row and about 1.20 meters between rows.
Coltural care consists in keeping the ground weed-free, in fertilizing, and in watering, all of which will be necessary during the summer.
The production of artichokes begins in the month of March (depending on the climate) and lasts for about a month.

ADVERSITIES

Among the particularly harmful insects to remember are the aphids, the beetle, and the mole cricket. For the aphids, one can proceed with compounds of natural pyrethrum. For the others, one may make use of poisoned bait or hand-picking. With regard to fungal diseases, mildew is particularly harmful and can be fought with sulfur-based sprays.