Growing Artichokes

Have you every thought of growing artichokes?

I didn’t until a friend in Idaho grew them.

Idaho is 230 miles north of my location in Northern Utah.

Our family loves artichokes, so…. It was time I learned how to grow artichokes too.



The Globe Artichoke is a perennial native to the Mediterranean and has been grown since ancient times in Greece.

In the United States they grow in the cool moist climate of coastal California.

The plants will not survive the cold northern winters so in these areas they can be grown as annuals or mulched and protected over the winter.

Choosing a variety:

There are many Varieties of artichokes, these improved varieties Green Globe, Grande Beurre and Imperial Star can be grown as annuals, they will produce editable buds their first year.

Soil Preparation:

Amend the soil with lots of compost or aged manure. Add organic fertilizer and ½ pound of complete fertilizer (16-16-8) into the soil. Work the soil to loosen.

Artichokes need lots of room. 3-4 square ft per plant. If you are planning to protect your plants over winter, pick a place where they will be able to grow from year to year.

Planting:

Starting from seed; Start sees indoors in the winter. 8 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost in your area. This gives the plants a good start. As the seedlings grow, transfer to larger pots until ready to plant outdoors.

Plants; Look for plants in your local nursery in the early spring. My local nursery carries them but they sell fast, so keep checking as the weather starts to warm in March and April.

Plant artichokes outdoors about the time you put your tomato plants in. In our area that is Memorial Week end through the first week of June.

Mulch the ground around the growing artichokes as they like cool moist soils. If you live in an area with hot summers, plant them in a partial shaded area so they are protected from the hottest part of the day.

Growing artichokes are thistles and are vigorous and hearty if they receive plenty of moisture. They needed little attention aside from controlling the aphids.

Controlling Aphids:

    Use an insecticidal soap as labeled at first sign of infestation. I did this twice, a month apart

    I applied a dusting of food grade diatomaceous earth twice during the growing season.

    I checked once a week and sprayed the aphids with a strong stream of water as needed.

I never eliminated the aphids. I think there were 4 or 5 varieties of aphids through out the growing season. But I was able to keep them at bay and harvest artichokes.

Harvesting:

The terminal bud comes up through the center of the plant. The terminal bud is the largest and will reach 2 to 4 inches in diameter.

Cut off the bud before leaves open and the base of the bud swells. This is the part of the bud you eat. You’ll get the idea when they are ready after you harvest a few.

After the terminal bud is harvested, secondary buds with shoot up from the same stem. The rest of the buds will be smaller, but they are tender and sweet. You can continue to harvest buds all summer.

The first artichoke plant that started to bud gave us over 40 buds through out the summer. The other two plants started to grow buds by the end of July and gave us buds until fall.

We harvested our last Artichokes just before the first frost in October.


Cooking Artichokes

Growing sweet corn in the backyard is a real treat and worth the effort. New sweet corn varieties give a wider choice in sweetness and flavor.

Growing potatoes in the backyard can be fun and rewarding giving you potato varieties you can’t buy.

Growing green beans in the backyard is easy and productive. Green beans are fairly drought tolerant and require little attention once established.



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