Beetroot are a bit of a neglected vegetable, but they’re easy to grow and offer something new and fresh to your kitchen.
You might not have thought about growing artichokes before, but they’re a great plant for beginners and they make an unusual addition to the menu.
While these are both called artichokes, globe artichokes (cynara scolymus) and jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are completely different plants. Globe artichokes are grown for their edible flowers. Jerusalem artichoke or topinambur is grown for its edible roots. If you’re looking for an easy crop that needs hardly any help, then artichokes are definitely for you.
In March or April, plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers into the ground at a depth of 10cm, and about 30cm apart from one another. This is also the time to sow globe artichoke seeds, and these should be sown in pots, placing two seeds together at a depth of 13mm.
Transplanting globe artichoke seedlings
As you allow your Jerusalem artichokes to grow throughout the summer months, you can transplant your small globe artichoke seedlings in the ground when they have five leaves. Choose the strongest of the seedlings and pull out the weedier specimen.
Place plants 60cm apart and allow them to develop into strong and hardy shrubs.
Harvesting globe artichokes
The first globe artichokes can be harvested when flowers are around the size of a golf ball. Use a pair of sharp secateurs to remove flower buds before they’ve opened, allowing secondary buds to form that can also be harvested.
Harvesting jerusalem artichokes
Later in the autumn you can cut back your Jerusalem artichokes, using a fork to lift tubers out of the ground in the same way as you’d harvest potatoes. You can store Jerusalem artichokes in paper bags.