How to Grow Artichokescomments (26) April 25th, 2009
An artichoke plant, which can spread into a silvery green fountain up to 6 feet across, makes a bold, handsome addition to any garden. Best of all, perhaps, this gem of a vegetable can be grown much more easily and in a wider range of climates than you might expect.
I remember having dinner at a friend’s home and seeing an artichoke on my plate for the first time. I wondered how I was going to eat this intriguing vegetable. My friend’s mom showed me how to approach the task. I plucked the leaves, dipped them in melted butter, and tugged the stem end through my teeth to draw off the tender meat. It was child’s play.
Use the right growing technique for your climate
Sources for artichoke seeds
The artichoke, Cynara scolymus, can be grown almost everywhere in the United States, except possibly Florida, where the summer is too hot. The ideal growing conditions are cool and moist summers and mild winters.
If you live in a climate colder than Zone 8, your best bet is to start new plants each year. If you have a mild winter and mulch well, the artichokes may survive as perennials. Remember, it’s the artichoke’s roots that need protection.
Using transplants, you can grow artichokes as annuals in cold-winter climates with 90 to 100 frost-free days. I know people who have grown delicious artichokes in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts. Artichokes you start indoors in late winter or early spring will be ready to harvest from late summer through early fall.
Gardeners who are lucky enough to have the best growing conditions may be able to harvest artichokes throughout the year. For these people, it would not be unusual to harvest 30 artichokes per year per plant.
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