Early maturing purple annual.
Colorado Star was specifically bred for annual production from seed. Very early maturing. The 1-3′ tall plants vary from upright to prostrate, but all produce high yields of purple to greenish-purple buds. Typically 1-3 primary buds are produced that are 2 1/2-3 1/2" in diameter followed by 5-7 secondary buds ranging from 2-2 1/2" diameter. Developed by Keith Mayberry, who also bred Imperial Star. Plants are spiny. Perennial in Zone 7 and warmer, otherwise treat as an annual. NOTE: Amount of purpling may vary from plant to plant; some buds will be all purple, while others only show purple-tinged bracts. Avg. 9,600 seeds/lb. Packet: 25 seeds.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cynara spp.
CULTURE: Artichokes and cardoon require very fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5-7.0. Sow artichokes indoors 8-12 weeks before last spring frost date. Cardoon is more vigorous and can be started later, 6-8 weeks prior to last frost date. Plant 2-3 seeds per cell in plug trays or individual containers 1/4" deep. Germinate at 70-80°F (21-26°C). As soon as seedlings can be handled, transplant to 4" pots or 1½" cell-type containers and grow at 60-70°F (15-21°C) day and 50-60°F (10-15°C) night. Transplant 6- to 12-week-old plants to the field 2-3′ apart in rows 4-6′ apart.
IMPORTANT COLD TREATMENT (VERNALIZATION): Time transplanting so plants receive 10 days of 45-50°F (7.2-10°C) temperatures to induce budding. Protect from frost.
HARVEST: Clip mature buds midsummer to midfall, depending on location.
MILD AREAS: Where winter low is above 14°F (-10°C), sow seeds in fall, harvest in spring.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: Avg. 11,500.
BLANCHING: Gather stalks in late summer or early fall, tie upright with twine, and wrap with black plastic or black and white newspaper to exclude sunlight. Blanch for 3-4 weeks during the cooler weather of early fall.
HARVEST: Harvest after blanching, cutting at the base of the stalks to keep intact.
SEED SPECS: SEEDS/LB.: Avg. 11,600.
DAYS TO MATURITY: From transplant.
PACKET: 25 seeds, unless otherwise noted.