If you're eager to grow vegetables beyond the usual tomatoes or greens, you might try cardoon. Cardoon is a relative of the artichoke that's grown for its edible stalks and leaves. They're harvested young and are typically cooked, though the spicy leaves can also be eaten raw in salads.

Cardoon should be planted in full sun in a rich, well-drained soil. For best growth, provide water and nutrients as needed. In Florida, cardoon should be planted in fall or winter and will need to be protected from freezes.

Some gardeners also treat cardoon as an ornamental. The broad, silvery leaves can grow up to five feet tall and form a great backdrop for other plants. Cardoon also makes an interesting focal point in container gardens.

UF/IFAS Publications

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