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How to Grow Artichokes

Gardening Tips for Growing Artichokes
in Your Vegetable Garden
 

how to grow artichokes
Note: 1st Year Artichoke Plant, mulched with newspaper to help retain moisture.

Nutrition Watering Instructions Harvesting
Climate Fertilizing Instructions Storage
Soil Challenges Tips
Planting Prep for Winter  

Globe artichokes are a perennial member of the daisy family.  In your garden, this plant will likely grow to 3 or 4 feet tall. This vegetable is most known for it's young, tender globe-shaped flower buds, which are harvested before opening.  You can also blanch and eat the thistle-like leaves and stems. 

Growing artichokes in cold northern climate gardens can be difficult, as they are not a very hardy plant. However, if you take measures to protect them in your garden, they can grow and winter over in many areas (including New England).

* Gardening Tip for Growing Artichokes * For the best success in growing Artichokes in your home garden, use the sunniest spot available.

How to Grow Artichokes - Nutrition Information
Under optimal growing conditions, artichoke offers: dietary fiber, Vitamin C, disease-fighting antioxidants, Potassium, Chromium, Folate, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Iron, Manganese

* Gardening Tip * Unlike with many vegetables, this vegetable is actually supposed to increase it's antioxidant content when steamed!

How to Grow Artichokes - Climate & Growing Conditions
Artichokes grow best in climates that have mild and mostly frost free winters, and damp cool summers.  The ideal gardening temperature range is said to be from approximately 50 degrees (F) at night to 74 degrees (F) by day. 

How to Grow Artichokes - Preparing the Garden Soil
Artichokes will grow best in your garden with a sunny spot and deeply tilled, rich, well-drained soils. for optimal growing conditions, the garden plot soil pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. (Instructions for how to test and change your garden soil pH level.) Prepare the soil with fertilizer, well-rotted manure, and compost to improve drainage.  Keep the plant mulched and well watered in the growing season, as well as in the summer after harvesting.  If you live in a cool climate, in the autumn, you'll need to cut the artichoke plant back to 12” and apply a heavy dose of mulch to help protect the root structure from winter's cold.

How to Grow Artichokes - Planting
Obtain shoots or suckers of disease-resistant varieties.  Success from planting from seed is unpredictable and takes a long time (about one year between sowing and harvesting). 
Note: If you're starting your plants from seed, know that artichoke seed tends to have a low germination rate. It often takes several packets of seed to end up with a half-dozen plants.

Planting artichoke shoots or suckers offers faster and more reliable gardening results.  Artichokes require plenty of space to grow, so be sure to allow space in your garden for the plants to be 3 feet apart.

How to Grow Artichokes - Watering
Keep garden soils evenly and constantly moist. Keeping a careful eye to make sure that soil stays this way for the spring and summer will keep your artichokes happy and as healthy as possible.

How to Grow Artichokes - Fertilizing
Prepare garden beds with a low nitrogen fertilizer.  Repeat this application to your garden again when halfway through the growing season.

When planting, apply half a cup of the low-nitrogen fertilizer around each shoot.

How to Grow Artichokes - Gardening Challenges
For growing artichokes, good drainage during their growing period is very important. If they experience poor drainage, your crop may develop crown rot.  Try to handle the plants as little as possible. If you do find any infected or diseased plants, remove them from your garden immediately (do not compost them!).

* Gardening Tip for Growing Artichokes * Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.

How to Grow Artichokes - Harvesting
When growing artichokes, expect it to take between 2 to 3 months for your crop to reach maturity. Harvest when the buds are still tight and 3” across.  Cut well below the bud with 1” of stem still attached. 

It's normal for your best crop to be in the second year after planting. For best results, plan to divide and replant the adult artichoke plants every third year.

NOTE: Do not allow the artichoke heads to grow to full maturity, or you will have fewer flower buds to harvest (your yeild will be smaller than it could otherwise be).

How to Grow Artichokes - Preparing Artichokes for Winter
In the fall (after frost), cut the flower stems to the ground.  Cover each plant with straw and invert a box over each plant for protection from the elements.  Remove the box and straw covering in the spring, before the growing season begins.

How to grow Artichokes - Storage:

See: How to Freeze Vegetables - Artichokes

See: How to Dehydrate Vegetables - Artichokes

See: How to Can Vegetables - Artichokes

Gardening Advice Tips

Have a helpful gardening tip (or even a funny story) to share about growing artichokes?
Share it with us at: gardeningtips@howtogardenadvice.com

From Betty Claypool, Kingman AZ
Nope, they're not hard to grow, had one in my yard five years now!!! Found it again this Spring when I was weeding. True story. It has survived in spite of me. Our winters get down to 17 degrees and up to 105 in summer. When a friend told me they freeze, I said, no way!  I thought they were easy to grow with mine just happening to have been planted evidently in exactly the right place with rocks and steps all around it to help hold the heat in winter. We are sure enjoying it's produce and have gained in our family members becoming artichokaholics. Can't keep up with them being eaten and have already devoured 9 and have 13 more coming off. Anyway, now that I have learned how lucky I am to have it in my yard and it coming back annually now I am scared and probably will kill it with TLC! I sure hope not as they are delicious.

From Bill Huebl...
Several years ago, loving artichokes, I tried to grow them in my zone 6 garden near Annapolis, Maryland. After carefully starting the seeds and transplanting them into my garden, I was amazed at how quickly they were growing. Then one fine morning I was looking with pride at some of the artichoke plants when I noticed some were missing. Well this continued over the next few days until none were left. I was so flattened by the experience. Later on, I notice two fat deer - a mom and a fawn - walking through my garden and then I realized the problem. I am using black pepper now to keep them away but still missing some green tomatoes in my garden this summer.

Tips From Our Readers:
Have a great idea to share about growing artichokes?  Submit your own tips to us at:  gardeningtips@howtogardenadvice.com

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Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.