These easy-to-grow vegetables are grown for their tasty flowerbuds before the flowers open, but are also a valuable architectural addition to the vegetable garden, growing up to 1.5m (5ft) tall with silvery leaves rather like a thistle, although you shouldn’t need to support them.

Sow them on a warm windowsill in February, pricking out the strongest seedlings into individual pots and gradually harden them off. Plant out young plants in mid-spring, spacing them 90cm (3ft) apart with a little more space between rows.

Globe artichokes grow well in a warm, sheltered, sunny spot in well-drained, rich soil and will need a year to establish before you can reap a harvest, but cut off the buds and don’t allow them to flower in the first year. That way, they’ll store up their energy for a good crop the following year.

Water them well in summer, especially during dry spells, and feed them with a slow-release fertiliser each spring.

When the plants die down in autumn they can be cut right back. ‘Green Globe’ is the variety most commonly available for growing from seed, although you can also buy small plants from nurseries and garden centres.