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Cardoon Gobbo Di Nizza


SUPPLIED AS A PLANT IN A 1L POT Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) is a fantastic perennial vegetable – edible, ornamental, bee friendly and architectural. 

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Cardoon Gobbo Di Nizza is a heritage variety of Cardoon ( Cynara cardunculus) and is a fantastic perennial vegetable – edible, ornamental, bee friendly and architectural. Cardoons are a delicacy eaten widely in Italy and France but not so common in this country. They share many characteristics with their close cousin the Globe Artichoke, having attractive green leaves with a dusting of silvery grey. Cardoons are grown for their edible creamy stems, ridged like celery stalks rather than their flower buds. Their leaves can reach 3ft or more in length and in summer they throw up a profusion of vivid purple thistle flowers that tower above head height which are fantastic for bees. They bathe on the flower tops and go into a stupor, drunk on pollen and perfume – it is quite a sight. The flower stems can also be cut when dried in autumn for arrangements indoors or left for birds and insects over winter.

Plant out in May/June, they need a final spacing of about 75-90cm and need to be kept well watered for the first few months. Mediterranean in heritage, they a love a sunny site in well drained soil, but do consider their mature size when planting and the shade they create. Being perennials they seem to withstand all that nature can throw at them and in my experience suffer few pests. They are also remarkably hardy and once established return year after year without any problem. You can mulch plants over winter to protect the roots if it is a particularly cold one. Ours grow at high elevation on Dartmoor and have survived -15c and still emerged in the spring.

In September through to mid November it is traditional to blanch the cardoons by wrapping layers of cardboard or sacking around the stems and tying it up with string leaving the fronds of leaves poking out of the top. This helps to make the stems tender and removes the bitterness before harvesting. 3-4 weeks of blanching is usually enough and then you can cut individual stems for eating or slice the whole plant at its base like a monster head of celery. Cardoons can be harvested right through to late spring and the new growth is generally quite tender even if you don’t blanch the stems.

From being a victorian favourite, perhaps Cardoons have fallen out of favour because they take a little bit of preparation in the kitchen. Taste the delicious smokey, earthy artichoke-yness of cardoons on a cold winter’s night and you will become an instant convert! Almost all Cardoon dishes start of with removing the leaves from the stems, peeling off any stringy bits from the ridged outer side and then placing in water with a dash of vinegar or squeeze of lemon juice. This stops the stems from turning brown and helps to sweeten the flavour. Cut into batons, simmer in a pan of water until tender and your cardoons are then ready to use in a variety of ways. One of my favourite dishes is a bubbling Cardoon and Stilton gratin but they are also superb fried with crispy coatings.

“Thanks for everything, the info sheet was great. I planted the cuttings the day they arrived and have just multi sown the 9 star in seed trays. All very exciting, we’re now planning our perennial area.”

“You are right, perennial kale is fantastic! Thanks so much for the cuttings. I am a convert to having a corner of perpetual kale in the patch!”

“As the evening sun back lit the plants at Incredible Vegetables, I felt I was standing in one of the most important gardens of our time. Wildflowers working alongside an abundance of edimentals and perennial vegetables. A ‘food glade’ to rival the aesthetic of our greatest plant designers.”

– Jon Davies, garden designer, London Glades –

“I love your website and the work you’re doing. What you’re doing is exiting, useful, and one day will help to replace and enhance what human kind has damaged.With that our natural friends will return and we’ll be better for it.”

“Mandy, thank you. I am delighted with this plant – it is so strong and healthy and exceptionally well packaged – all done with loving care obviously. I shall look forward to having more plants from you.”

“Plants all arrived lovely and are growing well. I just wanted to say i was very impressed with the quality of the cuttings.. and its been a pleasure dealing with you. And I look forward to any purchases in the future.”

“The kale cuttings you sent survived the winter and are thriving. Thank you Mandy Barber you are the super hero of edibles, loving your work!!”

“I bought some Skirret seed’s off you last year. Well they grew and yesterday some got cooked and this message is just to say, they were delicious. Looking forward to a lot more next year. Thank you.”

“The Taunton Dean cuttings arrived a short while ago and never have I seen healthier looking cuttings! They are now firmly ensconced in some nice compost and are having a good drink. I even loved the packaging, which will be composted.”

“Hi I just wanted to let you know that I sowed half of my Caucasian spinach seeds and every single one grew, absolutely amazed, thanks for the seeds and keep up the good work.”

“Just to let you know that the lovely healthy looking plants arrived. Your plants are simply outstanding, every single tuber and plant are growing amazingly.”

“The plants arrived safely, I did not expect such magnificent specimens! I didn’t think I would be successful at stratification etc but I now have a whole bunch of Hablitzia seedlings sprouting after following your excellent advice.”

“Just to say, the Daubentons Kale is in the ground and looking well – thanks to the lovely damp compost encasing its roots…you do a good job at your end, I can tell by the way you package. Will be back for more of your wonderful perennials.”

“Thank you so much for all the vegetables, they really are incredible. I’m sure I’ve never before seen a healthier rootball than the one that arrived with our happy looking daubentons kale, and seeds and tubers are thriving thanks to all the useful information provided.”

“Thank you so much for sending such wonderful, healthy and very large plants. They are beautiful !! You packaged them so well and they arrived so quickly – I couldn’t get to the post office till the following day but they were absolutely fine. They’re now potted up and sitting in my ‘cold’ greenhouse while they adjust.”

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Mandy and Julien