red-legged artichoke project Mar 30, 2015 5:07:11 GMT -5
Post by taihaku on Mar 30, 2015 5:07:11 GMT -5
This project's very much at the daydreaming stage at present but, as I've made my first tentative steps in the direction of making it a reality, I thought I'd put a post up, seek some input and use the post as a springboard to actually try and do something. Globe artichokes are a plant I'm a huge fan of for my location. It is hardy enough in our climate to be perennial, either surviving completely unscathed or regrowing from the roots and crops pretty well for me on neglect. It is also highly ornamental, fits nicely in the vaguely mediterranean, vaguely new perennial styled ornamental beds I have around the house and is very popular with pollinating insects when I leave buds uncollected. It's something I want more of and I've had it in mind for a while to grow a few varieties out from seed in a big bed and then select the best and transplant them into more ornamental positions and/or create a couple of artichoke hedges to edge off growing areas from "wild areas" on the property.
On the basis of the good aspects of globe artichokes, I'm similarly enthused about the prospects of growing cardoons which I've never tasted but which will have a lot of the above upsides even if my verdict on their taste and their apparent faff to harvest is not favourable. Selecting my seed varieties of cardoon and artichoke led me to my proposed project.
I've opted to grow violetta precoce which has chunky purple chokes (I currently grow "violet globe" which is fairly similar and which I may involve at some stage in this).
I've also bought seeds for two cardoon varieties: gobbo di nizzia and rouge d'algers. Rouge d'algers is the key to this as it has red blushed stems that I find rather beautiful. Based on the pictures the degree of red seems to be variable so my plan is to grow out a load of these and retain those which show a lot of red. At the same time I'll be looking for the most precocious and purple of the violetta precoce. My goal is then to mix these plants up in planting and grow out seeds to produce at best a red-legged purple artichoke or failing that an improved "redder and purpler" red cardoon strain. In either case the resultant plant would, in my view, be a nice strain for pure ornamental use and edible landscaping (and will surely make my first million). If not I'll just have a load of cardoon and artichoke plants around the place which is also fine.
I'm hoping the red will be apparent in seedlings at quite a young stage in which case I might be able to just grow out violetta precoce seed and identify anything with rouge d'algers influence but at this stage I don't know that (if anyone does I'd be delighted to hear). I'm also not to clear on the viability of cardoon/artichoke crosses and how easy they are to do manually - again if anyone can help me shortcut that research I'd be keen to hear.
So that's the plan. I'll update again in due course.