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Cultivated thistles... globe artichokes, cardoons... ??

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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Globe Artichokes

What do you folks make of these? I have had a couple of globe artichokes in for some years now and just divided them so I now have about 20 plants in the ground. I personally like the globes, but my wife objects that they are a lot of faff for not much food. From a lazy gardening perspective once they are established they seem pretty indestructible, they are deep rooted so don't need irrigating. The only downer is that I seem to get a tingling mouth when I eat them - I've read that this is a fairly common reaction and likely linked to my hayfever.

Cross reactions
Allergies to a specific pollen are usually associated with OAS reactions to other certain foods. For instance, an allergy to ragweed is associated with OAS reactions to banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini, and cucumber. This does not mean that all sufferers of an allergy to ragweed will experience adverse effects from all or even any of these foods. Reactions may be associated with one type of food, with new reactions to other foods developing later. However, reaction to one or more foods in any given category does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to all foods in that group.

Alder pollen: almonds, apples, celery, cherries, hazel nuts, peaches, pears, parsley, strawberry, raspberry
Birch pollen: almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, bananas,[10] carrots, celery, cherries, chicory,[11] coriander, fennel, fig,[12] hazel nuts, kiwifruit, nectarines, parsley, parsnips, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, potatoes, prunes, soy, strawberries, wheat; Potential: walnuts[13]
Grass pollen: fig,[12] melons, tomatoes, oranges, celery, peach [14]
Mugwort pollen : carrots, celery, coriander, fennel, parsley, peppers, sunflower
Ragweed pollen : banana, cantaloupe, cucumber, green pepper, paprika, sunflower seeds/oil, honeydew, watermelon, zucchini, echinacea, artichoke, dandelions, honey (if bees pollinate from wild flowers), hibiscus or chamomile tea

Possible cross-reactions (to any of the above): berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc), citrus (oranges, lemons, etc), grapes, mango, figs, peanut, pineapple, pomegranates, watermelon

Source - wikipedia

I know some people have tried cardoons - a variety bred for a stem which is edible when forced. I guess this would make a good early season green? I've never really gone in for crops that need manually forcing as my gardening is usually time limited. Anyone like to chip in who has experience with forcing cardoons?
How early do they come in the spring? What do you do to force them? Do you get worthwhile quantities?

Wild thistles
I know we are supposed to love all thistles for their soil benefits, but I'm personally not keen on them. I like to be able to walk around barefoot in summer and the thistles we get around here make that pretty much impossible. Has anyone actually found a use for wild thistles that couldn't be replaced by, say, dandelions for the long taproot, or some other permie plant?


Are there any other cultivated thistle family plants I should know about? Seems like a perennial that puts down a strong tap root and grows vigorously without irrigation should be high on the list of likely candidates for cultivation by permie plant breeeders. Is there one cultivated for thick edible tasty roots for example?
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Eat the weeds !

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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Eat the weeds !


I occasionally eat raw uncultivated thistles--I like the taste of them much better than dandelions I eat the central vein/stalk on the leaves,after stripping off the spines; they're a bit like celery, I think. I only eat the ones that come up in my own garden, and I don't think I actually had any last year.

Michael, I'm wondering what kind of harvest you get from each artichoke plant? I personally love artichokes, but don't have any at present. I also wonder if you can eat their leaf stalks the same as cardoons and uncultivated thistles?
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