Grow Artichoke for Delicious Treats
Artichoke is an interesting vegetable to grow. With the artichoke, it’s all about the right climate. The artichoke plant likes a cool climate with a balance of moisture. The artichoke won’t grow in extremely hot regions of the country. A single artichoke plant can bear annual harvests of pale green globes of leaves with prickly tips. Learning how to grow artichoke plants can ensure a consistent supply of delicious artichokes from your own garden.
The artichoke is a member of the thistle family. It has a thick stem and a bushy internal core inside the expanse of leaves. When the thistle core is stripped away after cooking, the “heart” looks like a round, soft mound prized for its taste.
An Artichoke Needs Growing Room
An artichoke plant needs plenty of growing room. Like all thistle family members, it tends to spread out as each globe appears from the branches. The buds of the artichoke are a lovely shade of pale orchid and are also edible. Artichokes can be grown from seed, roots or cuttings. This is fortunate because it makes the artichoke plant easy to propagate from one growing season to the next.
Starting Artichokes from Seed
To start an artichoke plant from seed, begin indoors in late winter. Many artichoke growers make use of a fluorescent lamp to encourage growth of the seeds, roots or cuttings. Artichoke needs a steady diet of fertilizer to keep growth steady. Some of the fertilizers artichokes react best with are bone meal and rabbit or chicken manure.
Take Care with Transplanting Artichokes
Transplant hothouse or indoor seedlings after the final frost in spring. Use sturdy seedling specimens with strong stems and well-developed sets of leaves. Then, plant outdoors or in a large planter in a sunny location. An artichoke plant has an unusual graceful appearance and makes a great potted plant with the reward of a tasty vegetable at harvest time. You can eventually divide artichoke plants to increase the number of plants in the garden. This is done by using a sharp knife to separate a section of the root. Then, plant the root in a rich, well drained soil. Water the artichoke regularly to keep the globes from dying in the hot sun.
The Best Growing Zones for Artichokes
Although artichokes are fairly hardy to most growing zones, they have to be replanted if grown in Zone 8. For all other zones, artichokes grown from seed, root or cuttings are fairly hardy and will return each new growing season. Plant in rows in deep, rich soil outdoors. Space each plant about twelve inches part and remove weeds that hinder proper growth and draw nutrients away from the plant. An artichoke plant may grow to approximately four feet in height and six feet in width. Also, harvest the chokes at the peak of their growth. The longer the artichoke bud remains on the main stem, the less tender it will be when it is cooked. Plant an artichoke in a large pot and it can produce enough buds in a season for many enjoyable meals.