Growing Artichokes

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Growing Artichokes 

 

You may
be surprised that if you have at least 100 frost-free days in your area
which most of the country does, you can grow them! Most people assume
that the artichoke needs to be grown as a perennial and that it will
not bear fruit until the second season.

Grown
from seed, the first will be harvested the first season, running neck
and neck with the first tomatoes on the scene. Up north the seasons are
shorter however artichokes will start producing the very first part of
August, following approximately 6-8 weeds of yield.
Growing Artichokes

Most people have the idea that artichokes will not withstand high heat.
Intense sunlight will cause the plant to wilt, even when soil is moist.
Don’t be dismayed they may look a bit bad for a while but will
recuperate later. The sun may cause the plant to develop to quickly and
will cause them to be somewhat smaller than normal and hardened or
“tough.” As the weather begins to cool down the artichoke will respond
with healthy delicious artichokes.

Preparing the soil:

Artichokes
need to grow quickly to be choice and edible. Watering is very
important, and soil needs to be very good. They will need a high
quality compost and manure in generous amounts each and every season.
Sand and organic material should be worked into a soil that is “heavy.”
Well-drained soil is significant for good production. Slightly acid
soil is needed for artichokes 6.0 works well. Plant at least 2 plants
per person, and if you really are an artichoke fan, then 4 per person.

Your
plants will use a lot of area in your garden, in time will grow 4 ft.
wide and 3 ft. high. Where the season is short, they will grow only ½
that size, double your plants in that case as producing time is
shorter. Place the plant in a 12×12-in. hole filled with rich compost.
Make sure the soil around the plants is well fertilized and loose.

Caring for your plants:

Water
well to encourage production in cooler climates. In warm areas too
early flowering is not acceptable, cut back by trimming flower stalks
and big leaves. In addition, reduce the water and feeding until highs
are by mid-day in the 70’s.  When warm cover the soil with mulch.
When weather is cool, remove much of the mulch.

Where
winters are not severe, and after the first killing frost, cut off the
big leaves leaving the steams, which can be tied together. Earth should
be mounded around each plant. Where the weather is colder cover the
trimmed plant with a box and cover the box with a heavy blanket of
earth and mulch. For very cold climates, add a layer of a covering such
a fireplace ashes.

As
soon as the ground is no longer freezing remove the covering; being
covered too long will cause the shoots to start too early.

If
deep ground frosts are a certainty the roots should be dug and stored
indoors in a dry place of about 40 degrees. Place in fiber bags packed
loosely. The leaves should be cut back to within an inch or two of the
crown.

One fourth of the plants should be replaced each year. Old plants need
to be replaced with new ones to keep steady production. Take suckers or
side roots from the best and healthiest plants to propagate. The shoot
should be about 3 inches long, harvest these in early fall.

 

 


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