How to grow artichokes in a biological way
The artichokes (Cynara scolymus L.) are, unfortunately, among the horticultural most treated by anticryptogamici (for the conditions in which they are grown and produced) we try to give a small guide for totally organic productions. We remember that they are perennial plants, so we prepare a suitable plot where to grow them for 4-6 years (never repeat on the same plot the cultivation if not after 4-5 years) and who love a warm climate.
Among the varieties we have those for autumn production (generally with smaller flower heads) and others for spring production.
The ground of the artichoke must be deep, of medium texture, well endowed with organic substance, not calcareous. Before implanting the artichokes, give yourself a good dose of mature bovine manure (preferable) or in the absence of this of other mature organic, working it and mixing it with the soil. For larger extensions, mechanical working parts are used which will also interfere with the manure.
For the plantation we start from the carducci, that is, of the young suckers produced by the big artichoke plants; it is good to use suckers that have already produced at least 4-6 leaves. Since the adult artichoke plant can reach 100-120 cm in height, we must distance them at least 120-140 cm, putting them in small holes, not too much burial and covering the ground carefully, without costing it excessively (to avoid the onset of rottenness). At this point the first irrigation can be carried out.
For irrigations, close shifts are recommended, especially during the period of swelling of the flower heads (the turn should be established according to the need to never cause the plant to suffer in the vegetative phase).
Among the parasites of these plants we remember: aphids, artichoke noctua, artichoke vanessa. In a different way they weaken the plant and, in some cases, make the flower head not edible. To reduce the risk, some small rules: never use synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, never irrigate with too cold water, combine with plants such as Onion, Lettuce, Pepper, Peas or Broad beans, Leeks, Radishes. These plants will greatly improve the ecological balance of consortia and the organoleptic qualities of the associated species.
However, if the infestation occurs (in this case it is good to analyze what may have been the possible causes and write down – so you do experience in biological) we can use the macerate of nettle (early morning and evening) for a few days and move away (if possible) the parts attached. If the attack is due to the night (digging tunnels up to the head) you can treat the plants with tomato infusion that moves the butterflies away, acting as a repellent.
For the vanessa of the artichoke (big butterfly) in the period of the flight of the adults we prepare the infusion of tansy or wormwood and spray it on the plants.
Now good harvest and, above all, certain that you are eating in nature.