Artichokes are a marine climate vegetable and thrive in the cooler coastal climates. The artichoke does best in frost-free areas with cool, foggy summers but will grow almost anywhere there are at least 100 frost free days. Freezing temperatures will kill the buds and hot, dry conditions destroy the tenderness though artichokes do, however, like full sun.
Artichokes will grow on a wide range of soils, but produce best on a deep, fertile, well-drained soil. The plant is deep rooted and should be planted on soils that afford adequate area for root development.
As a perennial: Artichoke plants can reach a height of 3 or 4 feet and a spread of up to 6 feet in diameter so allow plenty of space for them to grow. In Zones 7 and above, plant the artichokes to the side so that the more frequent planting of annual vegetables won't disturb them. Space the artichoke plants at 4'-6' feet within the row with 6 to 8 feet between the rows.
Artichokes are a marine climate vegetable and thrive in the cooler coastal climates.
As an annual: Artichokes won't reach their full potential if planted in Zones 6 and below. Freezing temperatures will kill the plants before they can reach full potential therefore a tighter spacing may be used. Space artichokes within rows at 2' - 3' apart and row spacing of 3'- 4' apart.
In general, consider your particular situation. Artichokes planted closer together will yield more bud production but with smaller bud size. Planting artichokes too close together makes harvest difficult and increases chance of disease.
Where winters average above 14°F, you can sow seeds in the fall. Sow artichoke seeds 1/4" deep in lightly moistened soil. If seeds are soaked ensure the soil has adequate aeration ability or the seeds may rot.
Seeding For Transplants
Sow artichoke seeds indoors about 8 weeks before the last spring frost date. Sow 1/4" apart and 1/4" deep in lightly moistened potting mix in a flat or in a pot. As soon as seedlings can be handled, transplant to 2-4" pots or cell trays and grow at 60°F - 70°F days and 50°F-60°F nights. If seeds are soaked ensure the potting mix has adequate aeration ability or the seeds may rot.
These seeds germinate best in soils around 70°F-80°F.
Germination will take 10-20 days.
Planting Root Stock
Rootstock can be purchased from a nursery or alternately, a healthy plant can be dug up, the root divided into two or more parts and replanted.
Root sections should be set at 6" - 8" deep in the soil. Irrigate the soil thoroughly before planting.
Transplanting Into the Garden
Transplant artichokes to the garden at 6-8 weeks.
Artichokes require frequent irrigation during the growing season. Moisture deficiency will result in loose buds of inferior quality. On the other hand, artichokes won't tolerate standing in water, so plant the artichokes either on mounds or in rows with irrigation furrows. Irrigate the artichokes about once a week; irrigate more often in warm areas and less often in areas with heavy soil.
The artichoke is actually an edible bud. It is harvested at an immature stage and selected for size and compactness. Overdeveloped artichoke buds begin to open or spead; the bracts may have a brownish cast and are tough and stringy; the artichoke hearts have a fuzzy, pink to purple appearance.
As a perennial: For artichokes planted in the fall, harvest can begin as early as spring. Maturation and harvest will continue through the following spring unless interrupted by frost. Peak production occurs in spring.
As an annual: For artichokes planted in the spring, harvest in the fall.
Handle buds carefully during harvest to avoid bruising bud leaves. To harvest artichokes, cut the bud from the stem about 1" - 1½" inches below the bud base. Buds allowed to become over mature will be loose, fibrous and inedible. Artichoke blossoms, however, are attractive as fresh or dried flowers.
Use immediately or refrigerate as soon as possible after harvesting.
Artichokes may be stored for 1 to 2 weeks at 32°F with a relative humidity of 95%. Artichokes have a low sensitivity to ethylene gas.
Curly Dwarf, Botrytis Disease
Artichoke Plume Moth, Aphids, Snails, Slugs
Artichokes exposed to 8-10 days of temperatures around 50°F will respond with earlier budding.
Oregon State University, "Globe Artichoke, Commercial Vegetable Production Guide", Last modified 2002-12-23, Oregon State University, http://www.orst.edu/Dept/NWREC/artichgl.htm, Accessed 2002-12-30
Schrader, W. & Mayberry, K., Artichoke Production in California, Vegetable Research and Information Center - Vegetable Production Series, Publication 7221, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/7221.pdf, Accessed 2002-12-30.
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