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Pacific Northwest Grown,
Open Pollinated, and Organic Seed

Cardoon, Argenté de Genéve Inerme (Organic)

Cynara cardunculus. Perennial in zones 7-10.

Closely related to the artichoke, this stem vegetable is sown in spring, blanched with cardboard in fall, and then used steamed or raw in salads. Large, silver, slightly spiny leaves produce purple thistle-like flowers that reach 6′ tall. Pollinators love it. Heirloom originally from the Grosjean family in Chêne-Bougeries, Switzerland. We received it from Pro Specie Rara, the Swiss seed saving organization.

2 g ≈ 40 seeds
$3.90

Out of stock

6 g
$6.90

Out of stock

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Geographical Origin

Sow 2–3 seeds in 4″ pots indoors February through April. Thin down to single strongest seedling. Plant out to 18-24″ centers in spring to early summer. Make sure not to place other plants too close as cardoons can reach 3-4′ wide. Plant in a permanent position since this perennial grows back each spring.

Seed Saving

Seeds are produced in the second year and are ready when flowers are dried and downy. Wear gloves and use a brick to smash seed heads to remove seed. Winnow to clean. Isolate from other cardoons and artichokes by ½ mile.

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  1. 1 out of 2 people found this helpful
    CardiC

    Hardy and low maintenance

    CardiC (verified owner)

    Where did you grow this variety? Washington

    In spring 2020 after purchasing two cardoons from a local nursery to transplant that didn’t weather the journey home very well, out of desperation I sowed a few of these seeds at a time I thought was rather late – April, I think. I quickly gave up on them, but most germinated in a few weeks. I continued to neglect them except for a little watering, eventually thinned to the largest plant, and that ended up in much better shape, and larger, than the two sad transplants (which didn’t really recover and prosper until fall). I gave some of the nursery version to a friend, who said they were rather bitter after prep, but the Argente were not at all bitter after just a littel parboiling in lemon water. I’ve harvested twice this plant is just profligate – it keeps growing back quite quickly. The leaves really are quite beautiful. No flowers to report yet. This is in the Seattle area.

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