Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Artichokes, another sign that I'm ready for spring...

Thanks to The Prudent Homemaker (a fascinating website!) I've discovered that it may very well be possible to grow artichokes in my backyard (Zone 5!). As I've researched, I've come up with some helpful tips. Because the summers heat up pretty fast, there are a few extra steps to take to make sure the artichokes produce. They also generally do not survive the winter, and have to be treated as an annual.

I ordered my seeds last week, which is already pushing things, so if you're interested, get seeds NOW.

Step 1: When your seeds arrive, soak them for 8 hours in a bowl of water.
Step 2: Mix seeds in with some sand, and place in the refrigerator for two weeks (this tricks the seeds into thinking they've been through a winter and will help ensure production.
Step3: Plant seeds in a seed starting mat, (or whatever you use to start seeds).
Step 4: After seeds sprout, keep them under grow lights during the day to help them grow without getting leggy.
Step 4.5: Prepare soil outdoors by adding lots of organic matter, down to 12 inches in depth, so the roots can grow easily.
Step 5: Plant outdoors 3-4 weeks BEFORE the last average frost free date.
Step 6: Keep watered, mulched, and fertilize using a nitrogen rich fertilizer.

Good luck with yours. I can hardly wait. I love artichokes, and hope we get a big harvest.


The Prudent Homemaker said...


You may be able to cover your artichokes in winter as well, to keep them the next year. It's worth a try!

R.L. said...

Hansens' greenhouse in Benjamin, Utah, told me that a man in American Fork has had artichokes three years, and each year the plants are larger. He cuts them down to about six inches in the fall, mulches them well with straw, and then covers all of that with black plastic for the winter. One spring he uncovered them and they froze, but they came back well.

I purchased artichoke plants from the greenhouse, but the snow has kept them indoors too long -- kind of bedraggled right now.

Alice said...

I'm definitely going to try to get them to survive the winter!