(Cynara) Artichoke is native to the Mediterranean. This biennial vegetable won’t overwinter reliably north of Zone 7, but gardeners north of it can trick their artichokes into budding in the first year. Germination is fairly easy: Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. Ideal germination temperature is 70-80 F. Seeds germinate in 7-21 days. The seedlings form a sensitive taproot, so be sure to pot up gently and do not allow the little plants to become root bound. To get a crop of artichokes in one year, start seeds indoors in pots 10-21 weeks before last frost date in spring. Move the pots outdoors when four leaves have developed and temperatures are in the low 40s and upper 30s (bring indoors upon chance of hard freeze). Four weeks of exposure to cool temps vernalizes* the young seedlings, preparing them to bloom later in the season after plants have grown large. Cardoon may also be started early indoors, but vernalizing isn’t necessary. Cardoon, which is related to the globe artichoke, is a perennial but is typically grown as an annual in USDA hardiness zones 6 and colder. Both artichoke and cardoon require very rich soil and full sun. They need excellent drainage but ample moisture. Space plants 24-36 inches apart as they will grow quite large.