|My First Artichoke! 5/18/2012|
When I harvested the choke, I took a lot of stem. Hoping the middle of the stem would have edible flesh like marrow in a bone. And it looked exactly like that from the cross section of the stem. And indeed was edible, with an even stronger flavor than the leaf petals. Future harvests will include the stem pieces.
There were quite a few sugar ants on the choke when I harvested it. They were farming some colonies of aphids living under the lowermost petals. The ants feed on the waste "honeydew" that the aphids produce. In return, the ants protect the aphids from predators. In some cases, the ants carry the aphid eggs back to the ant colony for winter storage, then return the eggs to proper plants in the spring. Thus increasing George's chances of having aphids. But overall, mostly harmless and totally organic. Removal of the worthless little bottom petals took care of both sets of critters.