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:
- Soil pH test kit – or bring a soil sample by Green Thumb Nursery.
- Garden Lime or Garden Sulfur — lime makes the soil less acidic, whereas garden sulfur makes the soil more acidic.
- Organic compost such as Black Gold Organic Compose or FoxFarms’ Original Planting Mix.
Artichokes love water, and these plants can grow 4-5 feet tall.
- Water plants consistently. They need to develop deep roots.
- Give 1-2 inches of water per week which is about 16-32 gallons.
- 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.
- Start with a quality aged compost or bagged compost such as Black Gold Organic Compost and dig it into the bed to 18 inches.
- 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
Peas and pole beans do well with artichokes. As artichokes are heavy feeders, the peas or beans help convert nitrogen in the soil.
Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with access to deep water is vital for growing artichokes. Space plants 4-6 feet apart.
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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