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How to grow thistle: cultivation, sowing, planting and care to devote to the plant. From bleaching to harvest, the best varieties to grow in the garden (white thistle, giant thistle, ivory thistle ...).
Thistle: plant and parts used in cooking
Thethistleit's avegetablenow forgotten, littlecultivatedin the home garden. It is characterized by aflavordelicately bitter and you cancultivatein the garden from spring until the end of June. In this period, thethistleit can betransplantthatsow.
Thereplantit is very voluminous and flashy. It grows up to one and a half meters in height. Different varieties are grown and in the kitchen is also usedwild thistle, that is what grows spontaneously in uncultivated fields.
When we talk aboutthistlewe refer to the botanical speciesCynara cardunculusvar. altilis which is appreciated for its petioles (le thistle ribs) particularly tender and fleshy. We will talk about thewhite thistlehe was born ingiant thistle.
The petioles of the leaves (thistle ribs) are used in the kitchen after bleaching. The thistle ribs are very fleshy so that at the base they can develop to 10 cm in width.
In Southern Italy and in areas with a mild climate, thethistleyou cancultivatelikeplantperennial. Typically, thecultivationand annual with a fairly long vegetative cycle (from 180 to 220 days). It can also be grown in Northern Italy bearing in mind that theplantit does not tolerate sub-zero temperatures so it should be harvested before the second half of November, when the first winter colds could ruin the crop.
How to grow thistle
You don't need particularly fertile soil to get thistle ribsmore flavorful and less bitter, it is advisable to irrigate regularly and use a soil rich in organic matter. The only necessary condition is that the soil is free of water stagnation that the taproots of thethistlethey do not tolerate.
Since the radial system is deep, it is better to dig at least 30 - 40 cm before planting or sowing.
Where to buy thistle seeds? In agricultural consortia in your city or by taking advantage of online sales. On “this Amazon page” it is possible to find different varieties of thistle (including the white thistle and the ivory thistle, the most popular) ready to sow.
Thistle: planting and cultivation
How to sow the thistle? The sowing and planting period falls between spring and summer, when temperatures are between 20 - 30 ° C.
For sowing we recommend the use of cellular containers or single jars. Sowing can take place in universal soil kept slightly humid, after 7 - 15 days from sowing, depending on the temperature, germination will be finished and the first leaves will develop. The thistle canplantin the garden when each plant has developed at least 4 leaves, even better if you wait until they have reached a height of 12 - 15 cm.
How to plant the thistle
The planting must take place maintaining a distance between plants of about 1 meter, just as is required for artichokes. Each plant, therefore, must have one meter available on each side (one meter distance between the rows and one meter distance between the plants on the same row). Flower beds must be kept clean for the duration of cultivation.
After growing, the plant will have to undergo a process ofbleachingso as to be tastier. The bleaching of the thistle is carried out from the end of September to the end of November. There are many bleaching systems, on average the fastest one involves the use of cardboard and straw, in practice each plant must be wrapped (wrapped in cardboard when it is still planted in the garden) in a cardboard and straw banner, as high as the ribs. Only the tips of the leaves will have to remain outside in order to support the plant with photosynthesis, while the enclosed ribs will lose the photosynthetic pigments and change color becoming white (this is why we talk aboutbleaching of thistles).
Thewhite thistleis undoubtedly among thevariety of thistlemost appreciated. It is very similar to the ivory thistle. It is more easily found on the market, with medium-wide ribs and jagged leaves.
White thistle and ivory thistle are not the only two varieties to be grown in the garden. We also report theI fall Giant of Romagna(it has very thick wide ribs with jagged leaves) and theUnarmed giant thistle (it has wide very fleshy ribs and slightly jagged leaves).
Thistle and artichoke
These two plants arerelatives, it is therefore important to avoidgrow thistlewhere previously there were artichoke crops. The two plants belong to the same botanical family, have similar nutritional needs and are sensitive to the same parasites.
In fact, thethistleit should not be grown in the same aids where you had grown in the previous cultivation cycleartichokes, chicory, curly endive, escarole, lettuce, radicchio and of course the samethistles.
Thethistleit is just like the artichoke, so those who live in southern Italy can plant it once and harvest it for 3-4 years in a row before having to renew the cultivation.
It can be useful: multiplication of the artichoke