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Artichokes: From Seed to Harvest
I am starting a new blog series called “From Seed to Harvest”. In this series I will write
about one vegetable, fruit or herb and what it takes to get it from a seed to your kitchen
table. I am going to list varying growing conditions, soil preparation techniques and
more. My goal is to arm you with as much information as possible to increase your
chances of success with the varieties we cover.
First up, is the artichoke. Yes, you can grow them in your garden. While they will be
much happier in warmer climates, they have been shown to be hardy in as far north as
zone 4. Of course the colder your climate the more “tricks” you will need to use to take
advantage of shortened growing seasons such as starting them earlier indoors and the
use of cold frames.
When planting your artichoke seeds, make sure you do not plant them deeper than a
quarter of an inch. Although they are a medium sized seed, you want to make sure they
can push through the topsoil without much hassle. This depth is irregardless of your
starting method. i.e. outdoors, indoors, in a cold frame or via a propagation dome.
Your artichoke seeds should be planted in a soil where the temperature exceeds
seventy degrees Fahrenheit but not greater than eighty. If you are starting your seeds
indoors, a propagation dome is an excellent tool to use to ensure germination in under
Artichokes are one of those few home vegetable gardening anomalies where the pH is
neutral to more alkaline. The best way to increase your soil’s pH level is the use of
limestone. The finer the powder of the limestone, the faster it will amend your soil.
Before you add anything, be sure to take a reading of your soil’s pH with a soil tester.
For your artichokes, you want your soil’s pH level to read anywhere from 6.5 to 8.0,
which is a little less than neutral to a little above.
If you started your artichokes indoors, just like any other veggie started indoors, you will
want to acclimate them to the outdoor temperatures. When daytime temps allow, bring
your artichokes outside and then back inside at night when temps drop. This process is
also called hardening off.
When permanently planting your artichoke starters be sure to give them plenty of room
to grow. While you can probably get away with eighteen inches between plants,
twenty-four is the recommended space. For square foot gardeners out there that is the
equivalent of two squares.
Artichokes are heavy feeders so be sure to prepare your soil with plenty of compost, and
feed them throughout the season with compost/manure tea or other organic fertilizers.
If your artichoke is a nice evenly green color and isn’t open, then it is ready to be
harvested. Try not to wait too long as once it begins to open it starts losing its
tenderness. Be sure to harvest your artichokes by clipping them off at the bottom.
The most popular variety is the Green Globe and for artichokes, sunflowers, and tarragon
make for great neighbors in companion planting methods, while following Jerusalem
artichokes in a crop rotation, is not a good idea.
want your soil’s
pH level to read
6.5 to 8.0, which
is a little less than
neutral to a little
Monday, June 18, 2012
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