Artichokes have been around for thousands of years, but did you know that they're actually a variety of thistle? Although it's a thistle, artichokes are cultivated as food. The part of the artichoke that is edible are actually the flower buds before they come into bloom. Who knew?! Whatever the case though, artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that has hundreds of uses, and are especially delicious pickled! Today we'll show you how to grow artichokes right in your garden so you can enjoy these peculiar veggies all season long!
How to Grow Artichokes in Your Garden
Artichokes do best in areas where summers are cool and mild, and where temperatures never fall below 25F or -4C. Coastal California is the perfect example of where artichokes would thrive, but that doesn't mean that you can't grow them in your area! As long as you can offer them 90-100 frost free days, you should be good to go!
If you live in a way colder or hotter area, it's best to grab annual artichokes, and replant them again every season. You can also try to heavily mulch during cold winters, but replanting them isn't very hard, and their cycle only lasts about 4 seasons anyways.
- Artichokes can be planted by seed, shoots, or roots. We highly recommend you grow artichokes by purchasing bare root stock from your local nursery as it will be the most successful of growths.
- Dig deep and mix in 1/2 cup all purpose fertilizer or compost. Artichokes are heavy feeders, especially while in their growing stages!
- Plant each root stock 3-5 feet apart, as they get big and love the room.
- Grow them in full sun and choose well draining soil. Water regularly, and never let soil get dry. A well watered crop ensures delicious, meaty artichokes.
- Mulch well to conserve moisture and protect against pests.
- Buds develop at the tip or on the side of the stalk, and should be removed quickly with a knife.
- Allowing any buds to bloom will inhibit production (the buds are the artichoke that you will consume!)
- Avoid watering from the top as this could encourage disease.
- Constantly check around your artichoke plants for any bugs, pests or diseases and rotate your crop every year to prevent soil disease.