How to Grow Artichokes

Written by David S.

Artichokes are an excellent addition to any garden. The large buds offer a unique flavor and many options for creating meals. Gently steamed and consumed petal by petal or stripped down to the heart with a bit of vinaigrette, artichokes are a summer and fall favorite. Here’s how to grow them. 

Starting Seeds or Transplanting Plants 

Artichokes are easy to start from seeds, but they take a long time to mature – 85-100 days. For that reason, many people prefer to start with plants. 

If you choose to grow your artichokes from seeds, start them when the soil temperature is 50-85°F. 

Artichokes are perennial, so you get many crops out of them.

Getting the Soil Correct 

Artichokes like soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0 – slightly acidic. The soil structure should be well-draining and full of organic matter – fertile but not soggy. 

Products that can help create the perfect growing environment include:

  1. Soil pH test kit – or bring a soil sample by Green Thumb Nursery. 
  2. Garden Lime or Garden Sulfur — lime makes the soil less acidic, whereas garden sulfur makes the soil more acidic. 
  3. Organic compost such as Black Gold Organic Compose or FoxFarms’ Original Planting Mix. 

Water:

Artichokes love water, and these plants can grow 4-5 feet tall. 

  1. Water plants consistently. They need to develop deep roots. 
  2. Give 1-2 inches of water per week which is about 16-32 gallons. 
  3. Water slowly and over a long period. The water needs to slowly absorb into the soil so that the artichoke roots grow deep to reach it. 

Fertilizer:

  1. Start with a quality aged compost or bagged compost such as Black Gold Organic Compost and dig it into the bed to 18 inches. 
  2. Fertilize artichokes in the fall with a high nitrogen fertilizer 15-10-10. While the crop is the buds, it is the leaves that help the plant produce the fruit. 

Artichokes can attract aphids, so be prepared with products that deal with aphids – Captain Jack’s Organic Dead Bug Brew, Neems oil, etc., are all handy to have on hand. 

Sun:  Artichokes require full Sun 

Companion Plants 

Peas and pole beans do well with artichokes. As artichokes are heavy feeders, the peas or beans help convert nitrogen in the soil. 

Growing conditions

Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with access to deep water is vital for growing artichokes. Space plants 4-6 feet apart. 

Anticipated yields 

If you are looking for artichoke yields to feed your family, plan on 2-3 artichoke plants per person. Expect 6-9 or more artichokes per plant. Green Globe artichokes can produce as many as 30 buds per season. The better the soil, the better the harvest. 

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