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It's time to get out there and do some gardening! Artichokes are perfect plants for the novice gardener, as they grow well in many climates. These plants can be a little tricky though; luckily, we've compiled our best tips for growing healthy artichokes that taste great too!
I don’t know about you – but I LOVE Artichokes, steamed and with a little garlic butter! Artichokes are a relatively easy plant to grow and can grow almost anywhere in the United States. The only state in which you may have difficulty planting this vegetable is Florida. The reason for this is because Artichokes tend to grow very well in areas that have cooler temperatures. Artichokes can spread themselves over a wide area. It is not uncommon for the plant to spread itself over an area of 6 feet or more.
Gardening Tips for Artichokes That Actually Work!
Artichokes were introduced to France in the 16th century. The vegetable was then brought over from Italy when Catherine de Medici married King Henry II of France in 1533.
In Ancient Greece, artichoke roots and leaves were considered a delicacy and only available to aristocrats due to their high price tag!
Benefits of Artichokes
These green vegetables are rich sources of dietary fiber, potassium, and folate. They also contain vitamin C, iron, manganese, thiamin (B-complex), copper, and phosphorus.
Artichokes have the ability to lower blood pressure due to their high levels of phytonutrients called flavonoids.
Basic Artichoke Facts
Start indoors in late winter, four to six weeks before the last frost date. Keep seedlings under bright lights. Sow two seeds per pot, 5mm (¼”) deep. Keep moist in a warm place until seeds germinate in 10 to 21 days.
In the extremely warm coastal areas of Zones 9-11, artichokes grow throughout the winter and begin bud growth in May. Harvest continues into mid-June. In the mid-range zones of the country, artichokes live through winter under the soil and begin new growth once the ground begins to warm in the spring.
The optimal growing temperature is not less than 50°F (10°C) at night and not more than 75°F (24°C) during the day. Do not plant artichokes where there are fewer than 100 frost-free growing days. Artichoke planting time. Plant artichokes on the average date of the last frost in late winter or early spring.
This is important to know when you are looking at the final desired harvest. It is not unusual to get about thirty artichokes per plant, per season. You would not want to grow twenty plants if you had no ideas for using up the six hundred vegetables you would end up with.
Discard the center "choke" (except in baby artichokes), but the base of the petals, the center of the stem and the entire artichoke heart are completely edible and easy to cook.
Gardening Tips for Artichokes: Soil
Artichokes can grow in a wide variety of soil types. However, they do best when the soil is rich and loose in texture with good drainage! They also thrive better when planted close to each other since artichoke plants are self-sustaining and rarely require fertilizers or pesticides.
New plants can be harvested from existing plants. All you need to do is take a knife and cut off an offshoot and plant it in the ground. You can also place it in water until you see roots develop. Whether you start your artichoke plants from seedlings or a new plant, it is important to plant them once the ground is warm. Remember to space the plants at least 4 feet apart to allow them to spread.
Another important thing to remember about planting artichokes is the fact that they can grow up to 6 feet in height. In areas that are colder than Zone 8, you should start with fresh new plants yearly. If you happen to live in other zones, your artichoke plant can survive as a perennial and grow a new crop the following year. However, for the plant to be able to do this, the roots need to be well covered with mulch during the cold weather.
The length of the stem from its base to where it emerges out of the ground determines how far down into the dirt you will need to bury your roots, usually about 15 inches deep is sufficient. Artichokes have pretty shallow root systems that only go around 12 inches below surface level so don't be too concerned if this seems like a lot!
Artichokes are a low-maintenance plant, but if you want to make sure they grow healthy and lush, give them some TLC. Deadhead spent blooms that will just waste energy for the rest of the plants in your garden! They also should be watered every day or two so long as it doesn't rain more than once per week.
The nice thing about artichokes is the fact that they are perennial. You do need to add a one to two-inch layer of compost around the plants each spring. Where marginally hardy, treat them just like roses at the end of all. Cut back the plant and cover with a 6-inch-thick layer of straw. Harvest perennial artichokes in spring, with a secondary peak in fall. Growing artichokes is a simple process and they keep you happy for years to come.
A fully mature artichoke has its bottom leaves yellowing and ready to harvest. You can tell by looking at how much purple coloration there is on the stem - this means it's time to pick those crisp little guys! Be careful not to pull too hard since these babies have deep roots which can take a while to grow back.
The best time of year to harvest artichokes is from October through December when they'll be at their peak size and flavor! They can also be left in the ground for up to six months if you want them later on - just make sure that water isn't drying out too much or it will stunt growth. You may need to add mulch around the base of your plants if there are dry spells during this period as well.
You can eat them raw, steamed or roasted - the possibilities are endless! If you're going to roast your artichokes, make sure they get a good char by rolling them in olive oil and salt before popping them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.
Easy Artichoke Recipe
While artichoke hearts are great on everything from a salad to a pizza - we love this Quick Instant Pot Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe from Operation $40K. Besides it being speedy to make in the Instant Pot- it has the decadent flavors of both spinach and artichokes.