Artichokes

[Introduction on Artichokes goes here]

Botanical Information

Taxonomy

History

Physical Description

  • GV: enormous, thistle-like plant, very decorative. Mature plant will produce 12+ green or purple flowerheads. The flowerheads can be cooked and eaten whole, if harvested young (golf-ball-sized).
  • PVFS: Native to the mediterranean; silvery-green leaves with large flower buds which blossom into beautiful purple ornamental flowers
  • GV: enormous, thistle-like plant
  • PVFS: plants will grow 4 feet tall and 6-8 feet wide

Varieties & Cultivars

Categories available

Colors Available

Varieties Available

Click for a list of articles on some artichoke varieties

Growth Requirements

Climate & Temperature Requirements

  • PVFS: USDA zones 8 & 9: perennial all other zones: annual; dies back to the ground in colder areas, but will survive, if roots don’t freeze

Air Temperarture

  • PVFS: mulch heavily to protect from frost
  • GV: mild climates preferred, with shelter; prefers sunny but not hot
  • GV: for germination, at least 59 degrees F

Soil Temperature

Humidity

Day Length or Light Requirements

  • GV: prefers sunny, but not hot weather

Site Conditions Favored

  • PVFS: artichokes like sunshine, but not the heat, nor frost, nor wind

Soil Conditions Favored

Soil Texture

  • PVFS: well-drained soil, rich in organic matter

pH

  • GV: 6.5

Nutrient Requirements

  • GV: fertile soil with lots of organic matter

Propagation

Methods of propagation

Seed

  • TKG: sow seeds in spring; 6-8 weeks later harden off then plant out; may have buds in first year (Violetto or Green Globe Improved)
  • GV: sow seeds in late winter or early spring¬†indoors; keep them at least at 59 degrees F. Pot up into 4″ pots to harden off; plant out in early summer

Roots or Crowns

  • PVFS: Roots and crowns should be planted in the winter, if it doesn’t freeze.

Division

  • PVFS: divide artichoke plants every 6-7 years; plant as for crowns or offsets

Cuttings or Offsets

  • Offsets should be cut in spring and planted out directly
  • GV: cut offsets, also known as sideshoots, off plant with a short length of root from the base of the plant in Spring. Plant out in Spring – 3′ apart, 2″ deep. Water in and trim ends of leaves to 5″ long. If nights are cold or if frost threatens, cover with fleece.

Transplanting or Potting Up

  • GV: Pot up into 4″ pots to harden off; plant out in early summer

Seed Saving

Planting Out

Typical Spacing

Growing Artichokes in Rows

  • General Guidelines: plant offsets of most varieties 3′ apart
  • Improved Green Globe should be planted 4-6′ apart in rows 8′ apart, or closer if treating them as annuals

Planting Depth

  • General Guidelines: plant offsets 2″ deep
  • Improved Green Globe crowns should be planted 6-8″ deep

Alternative Bed Methods

Routine Cultivation & Maintenance

Water Requirements

  • PVFS: after growth starts,, water thoroughly once per week, wetting entire root system
  • GV: keep plants watered, don’t let them dry out. The main problems with artichokes revolve around water: too little = small artichokes; too much = rotted plants

Fertilization Recommendations

  • GV: in spring, spread a rich organic mulch around them or water with a high-potash liquid fertilizer

Mulching & Weeding

  • PVFS: heavy mulching in winter to prevent freezing of roots
  • GV: in spring, spread a rich organic mulch around them
  • GV: keep plants weed free

Pinching or Pruning & Dividing

  • PVFS: when leaves start to yellow, cut off old stalks near ground
  • GV: in first year, cut off main flowerhead as soon as it appears. this will stimulate growth & the following year’s crop will be better.
  • GV: in the 3rd or 4th year the plant will be starting to crop less generously, so start cutting offsets from it with a view to phasing it out. See Propagation: Offsets, for more info.

Support

Winterizing

  • PVFS: in cold winter areas, cut tops to 1′ in fall
  • GV: earth up the plants and cover with straw or bracken
  • GV: Cut off dead stems; Remove foliage turning yellow or brown; Fork over soil to prevent compaction; Spread mulch of well-rotted compost or moanure around the base of the plant; In very cold winters, cover with straw, too.

Companion Planting

Helpful Companions

Harmful Companions

Companion to..

Pests, Diseases & Problems

Common Pests

  • Aphids
  • snails
  • Slugs
  • Gophers
  • Earwigs
  • Blackfly

Common Diseases

Symptoms

Whole Plant

Leaves

Stem/Trunk

Flowers

Fruit

Roots

Harvesting & Storage

Parts to Harvest

  • Flower Buds, before blooming, when tight & plump
  • GV: harvest at golf-ball-size to eat the whole thing

Yield

  • GV: a mature plant should yield 12+ artichokes

Days to Harvest / Harvest Timing

  • GV: harvest in summer & fall

Harvest Methods

  • GV: start by cutting the largest, topmost globe (AKA: the “king”) at the moment it turns plump and soft, just before the green scales begin to open out. Leave a short section of stalk attached. Pick the rest of the heads in the same way. Sometimes you will get a second crop of 10-12 in the fall.

Storage of Harvest

Fresh

Canned

Frozen

Pickled

Dried

Cooking Artichokes

Nutritional Benefits & Values

Toxicity

Cooking

Preparation

Cooking Methods

Recipes (links to Recipes Category)

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