Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus is native to the southern Mediterranean and was introduced into colonial gardens in the mid-17th century. It was considered a luxury to grow artichokes, so they were found only in the gardens of the gentry. Martha Washington included a recipe for "Hartichoak Pie" in her Booke of Cookery, a collection of family recipes.
Globe artichokes are perennials in USDA Zones 8-10 and may be grown as annuals in other zones. The plants prefer full sun and rich, evenly moist soil and grow 3-5' tall and 2-3' wide. Fertilize monthly. Buds develop in mid to late summer and should be harvested when the lowest scales on the bud start to open. If left on the plant, they will develop into a beautiful purple, thistle-like flower.
Sow seeds indoors 12 weeks before the last frost date. Six weeks before planting outside, the seedlings must be hardened off. To do this, move the seedlings to a cold frame, keeping the temperature below 50°F and above freezing. This will provide the cold treatment needed for the plants to set buds the first year. USDA Zones 8-10.