Growing Artichokes for Prickly Gardening Fun

October 12, 2023
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We don’t respect artichokes. They may come from the thistle and have a funny name, but they are actually very interesting vegetables! Let’s take a look at the surprisingly strange properties of this plant and soon you will be able to grow it in your own garden.

Artichokes are actually unopened flower buds. They have pointed leaves called bracts that envelop the artichoke core and the developing flower. Depending on the variety, the bracts are usually blue-green or dark purple. When we let it bloom, the bracts open, revealing fluffy thistle-like flowers of a bright blue-purple color.

How to grow artichokes? The plant itself is quite large. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide. It grows tufts of stems adorned with serrated leaves and, in some varieties, thorns or barbed wire. Artichoke plants are often grown as part of decorative landscaping. They give the plant a whimsical look that you simply cannot achieve with ordinary garden flowers.

As for the flavor, artichokes are delicious, especially soaked in ghee. They have a nutty taste and a surprisingly meaty texture. Historically, the close relatives of artichokes have been used medicinally. Today we taste this non-traditional vegetable in pizzas, in soups or separately.

All about artichokes

The artichokes that we are focusing on belong to the Cynara cardunculus subgroup, known as Cardon, which is an edible shrub weed sometimes cultivated as an ornamental plant. The artichoke belongs to the scolymus group of this species, less herbaceous and cultivated on an industrial scale. If these plants provide themselves, they can restore their wild roots and weeds.

Artichokes appeared in the Mediterranean region and date back to at least the 5th century BC. In the United States, they arrived only in the 1800s, but were very successful. Today, more than ¾ of commercial artichokes come from California, mainly from Monterey County. Every May, Castroville even hosts an Artichoke Festival dedicated to this fantastic product.

So, are artichokes perennials? Because they are native to the Mediterranean, artichokes prefer mild winters and cool, prolonged summers. The ideal growing area for artichokes is 7 to 10, although many gardeners are also successful in zones 5 and 6. Artichokes can be grown as annual plants in colder regions, but they do not produce optimal fruits until the second year of life.

Types of artichokes

There are many varieties of artichokes to choose from in different sizes, shapes and flavors. However, in terms of general care, they can all be treated in the same way. These species are divided into two Categories: round and oblong.

The artichokes are round and heavy, with dense bracts. You are probably most familiar with the green ball, which is usually sold in grocery stores. It has wide green leaves and a delicious core that goes fantastically with a whole range of dishes.

The first choice for growing at home is the imperial star. It looks like a Green Globe, but with thinner leaves and a sweeter taste. The third type of globes that we like is the Big Heart, that’s what it looks like. They are dense and heavy, often weighing a pound or more.

The elongated artichokes are well elongated. They have a slightly conical shape until the bract opens, which makes them a little rounder. These species are often used as trimmings when they do not attract attention to your landscaping.

Violetta is an elongated artichoke that bears her name. This 5 inch long beauty has leaves of green and purple. Siena artichokes, on the other hand, differ from tradition in their bright red color and smaller size.

Plant

Artichokes are planted in early spring or after autumn (if they grow in zones 9 to 11). Whatever you choose, the soil temperature must be between 50 and 85°F for these plants to grow normally. Artichokes grow well in containers, which is a great solution for those who live in cold areas. You can also plant the seeds in the middle of winter, and then transplant them in the spring.

Before planting, add compost to the soil. Plant the artichoke seeds to a depth of ½ inch and cut them at a distance of 6 feet. The distance between transplants should be 3 to 4 feet. After planting, you can add mulch to maintain humidity and regulate the temperature.

Care of artichokes

If you follow these simple guidelines, artichokes will be good in your garden. With these plants, you can look forward to a calm but exciting growing season.

Water and humidity

Your growing artichoke plant will need a lot of water. The soil should be constantly moist, so water deeply and often. You will probably water at least 1 to 3 times a week. Artichokes also prefer a sufficient amount of moisture if possible.

If you find it difficult to maintain soil moisture, try using immersion tubes at the base of the plant. Mulch the tops of the immersion tubes, as this will reduce the evaporation of the water you are bringing.

Floor

You can use different floor textures, the main thing is that they are well permeable. Artichokes need a lot of water, but they don’t need to be drowned. The soil should also contain enough nutrients, so we recommend adding compost just before planting and feeding it as needed.

Artichoke plants grow well at a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. However, it is known that they tolerate alkaline soils well, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this.

Fertilization

During transplantation, feed the artichokes with a balanced granular fertilizer. Plant fertilizers are a good choice to provide these plants with the nutrients they need. During the entire growing season, you can apply liquid fertilizers to the soil, if necessary, every two weeks. Diluted liquid fish emulsion can provide a good nitrogen supply for foliage growth at the beginning of the season. after that, switch to more phosphorus for the healthy development of artichokes.

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