I planted an artichoke from a 6" pot last summer, and kept it protected from the weather all winter, so that this spring it is about 4 feet wide, and looking healthy. I have been waiting for the first sign of a flower bud. My DH was in the garden a few days ago, looked deep down into the plant, and pointed out a post-flower artichoke growing down in the middle of the leaves! I've found another one on the plant, so I'm wondering, what am I doing wrong, or is it some different type that grows this way? The 'fruit' feels soft, not firm, will it fill out?
Since nobody has answered your question I'll give it a shot. Do you know what type it was? They usually don't produce their first year because they need a certain amount of chill time to flower. I don't know what your zone is but Castorville CA is the Artichoke capital so that area has the best artichoke climate.
I'm at 4000 feet, and we get some nights in the high 20's, low 30's, which is great for my apricot tree, and apparently enough for the artichoke. In the last week it's obviously grown and is going to be a nice size, I'm just surprised that it grew no stem at all. The artichoke is down in the heart of the plant, nestled in the leaves. As for what type, I lost the label from the 4" pot long ago, so that's a mystery.
Thank you for your try:>)
I plan to post a pic one of these days, to see if anyone else recognizes the type,
It should grow a stem. Just give it time. That's how they look as they first start to form. All of these are from 2007. First pic is the first bud forming down inside the leaves in July 11. Second pic is August 28. Third pic, I don't know the date, but if you want to eat them, you don't want to let it get to that point! Bees love it however. My biggest problem growing artichokes was judging when to pick. I tended to wait too long and then they would be tough. I wanted to grow them again this year, but didn't start seeds early enough. So maybe next year.
Julia, with artichoke you are eating a flower bud. Don't let it get too big. The first bud comes up from the center of the plant, that's your little bud nestled down in the leaves. That is usually the largest. All the others will be on the sides and smaller. Sort of like broccoli has a large central head and then you get side shoots after that. This pic shows the main bud and then smaller one below. You want to pick it when it is nice and tight. Don't let those petals spread or it may be too tough, eatin' wise that is. Nothing wrong with growing them for flowers. They are pretty.
It got it's name from De Anza- he came up Coyote Canyon from the south, through the high valley we live in, and went down Bautista Canyon and into what would later be Hemet. Still very rural, despite that horrible housing boom just before the crash.
What part of SoCal are you from?
I have a good crop of artichokes this year but there is something very different about a few of them. The buds are not closed tight and pointed. They are flat topped and open, they are not so old that they opened from maturity, they have been like this since they were small.
I cut a couple open, and the choke inside looked normal, but being open like this, the ants have gone in and created a black area in the middle of it. We are cooking one that the ants did not enter tonight to see what it looks like cooked
I know just how you feel. My original plant had the one big one last year, and as it developes side shoots, it will have more smaller ones on each center stalk. I had frost here last year that damaged tropicals but did not hurt the Artichoke, but do not know how much freeze they can stand. If freeze does kill the top, protect the roots and i am sure it will come back again next year, even more prolific than this year. I have not counted all of them, but i have several plants now.
Erniecopp-We are at 4200 ft, and got several frosts here, and like you said, it came through just fine. Hopefully high 20's is the worst we'll get. I honestly have only eaten artichoke (not in a dip) once, so hopefully I can keep up with what this plant is giving me!
Jenhillphoto- Yes, it's red lettuce-I went out and got the tag, it's Rouge De Hiver. And I'll never plant that much lettuce again! I thought I was a salad eater, but I guess I'm more of a garden grazer! Of course, with enough salad dressing I could eat it all, but that would kind of defeat the point!
I like the artichokes okay, but the chokes are not very big, and it takes time and trouble nipping off that little bit from each leaf, but I think the plants are so beautiful, i would raise them just for looks. We just learned that the small ones cook much much faster thant the large and mediums, so we will cook them separately.
Ernie-I'm with you, too much work! Lol sometimes I'll buy the fresh ones and cut out the heart and eat that or buy the hearts in a jar. They are pretty plants and I envy the people that have the patience to eat them. Have you grown Cardoon?
I do not recall ever seeing the name or hearing a reference to Cardoon until i started watching this blog, and Mark told me what it was. He also said that people just eat the fronds, and it was not very good. That is all i know about that.
I do eat and enjoy the Artichokes but only as an appetizer. I do not think they would make a very good meal.
I've never tried them but I know the plants sell because I've grown the starter plants. You might like how the taste, but the plants are pretty regardless. The root system is extensive so if you plant them you need to be sure that's where you really want them. Lol
So, now I just need to be careful that I don't let it get too mature. Any clues to just the right moment to cut them, not too early, not too late? I think too late would be when I see the purple interior.
Too late is waaay before you see the purple interior. I don't think it's ever too early to eat. Once the leaves/petals start loosening up, they get tough for eating. Sorry I don't have a better answer. Mine never got as big as ones I get from the grocery. So I waited too long and ended up with tough chokes. I don't understand anyone that would say it's too much trouble to eat them. (shrug) More for me I guess!
They are edible when too young but not enough flesh on the petals to make them worthwhile. Watch them closely and the minute they the petals start to open at the tip, harvest them and if you observe closely how they are then, you can pick a little bit earlier. This is only my second year so i am still learning. It is best to use a pressure cooker as boiling in open pans take far too long, but recipes give cooking times for the size you buy at the market, so reduce that time a lot for small ones like you may have to harvest at home. Overcooking makes artichoke mush which is pretty horrible stuff.
Thanks, Ernie, I'll give that a try. Pressure cookers are a new thing for me too-I have only used mine once, to can home made chicken soup. So it's all a learning experience! I have to say that if I continue to grow artichokes I'll have to create some new garden space. That plant is huge!
I have had to cut the lower fronds from mine to keep the ground dry to avoid slugs, and to be able tos watch for gopher hills, so mine are not nearly as big as they were before, but i think they are the prettiest plant in the garden, along with asparagus ferns.
Mine are in large containers, in an enclosed wire frame, to keep everything safe from cats, birds, and other critters, but their size makes them overshadow the other containers. Do gophers seem to really like them?
Here's a pic of where they are now. The pics is about a month old, so you can barely see the artichoke on the left, next to the trellis that is now covered with blackberries :>)
You have a very nice setup there. With yours being in containers, i do not know how or if, you will get the sprouts from the roots that i do in the ground, but some come up right at the base of the plant, and some come up a couple of feet away. I have to google up more info on the life cycle, but i think each plant only lives a couple or a few years, and then replaces itself. I noticed one today that has had artichokes taken from it that seems to be looking different, like it may be nearing the end of its cycle.
And Yes, gophers seem to dearly love the roots of the plants. I was amazed that a tiny animal the size of a gopher could EAT its way completely through the trunk of the Artichoke that was thicker than the length of the animal. A comparison would be a Beaver chewing down a 3 foot Cottonwood, and eating every bite of the wood it chewed off.
I am temporarily gopher free, having waged a successful war, but my neighbors have given up fighting them, so more will move in, i am sure.
I did not take any pictures of mine when they were in the full glory, before i whacked off the lower fronds. The next time they look like that i will take a picture and have it framed. lol.
I might try trimming up the ends of the leaves, sort of like a hedge, to have the best of both worlds-the plant, and unhindered neighboring plants. Don't know how the artichoke will handle it.
That must have been one comatose gopher after a meal like that! Too bad about being surrounded by gopher-riddled neighbors. Someday somebody will invent a real gopher stopper, and be a millionaire:>)
I'd never heard of artichokes re-propagating, it will be interesting to see what mine does down the road.
It has all been a new experience for me. When i cut the fronds from mine, i cut close to the stump but they are easy to cut.
That would probably be the right way if you were working with small starts in a new bed, but these plants of mine that are putting out sprouts are four or five feet tall and have 7 or 8 inch thick stems, So it would take a crane and a couple of jackhammers to separate their roots. Or one hungry gopher, i guess. I am going to research how the farmers do it in Castroville.
All i could find out about the Artichoke shoots is that on some commercial operations they cut down the plant after harvest to encourage new "shoots" to emerge, as they believe it increases production. They are perennials in mild climates, and are usually replaced after 5 years because the roots become too crowded.
I assume the sprouts are so commonplace they are not worthy of mention by the experts.
I will try to post some pix of the Artichoke sprouts i mentioned. The largest plants that have put out sprouts were planted one year ago. The one the gophers took out did not sprout from its root, so the middle sized one was a replacement planted this Spring, along with the other middlesized one. The smaller ones are all sprouts from last years original planting. The starts i used were much like Anza's, just plants in 4 inch pots.
Sorry, but this is not a very good photo forwarding program, and i could not enlarge or adjust the size before sending so not sure if the detail will work. I cannot see the result until i send these and open the post, but if they do not suit me, i will Dmail ones that show the detail.
Those pics came out nice, but I must admit it is hard to distinguish among the different plants. They all look great to me, with lots of 'chokes' on them. But those are sprouts in the first picture, right? I hope you don't lose any more to gophers!
My DH and I steamed a large and two 'baby' artichokes this morning, outside on a campstove, under a cypress tree by the garden, with a 'cold one' to wash them down, and they were yummy! With my daughter in Oregon, I couldn't ask for a better Mother's Day :>)
Anza, Yes, the first picture is all Sprouts from last years original. The pix on my computer were larger, so you could see much more of the surroundings. I checked the link on fixing baby chokes, and picked about a dozen of the small ones, and we will try the small recipe. I will let most of them grow out.
I am disappointed in how the lack of detail turned out, but i mostly wanted to illustrate how they produce the sprounts. You may want to watch closely for them and give them a bigger container, or try to transplant your sprouts. Not sure it can be done, but worth a try. Probably not many people try to grow them in containers, as they grow so big so fast.
Different looking artichokes, apparently same name. I have planted my artichoke plants at different times, and always bought "Green Globe" or so the label said. But, some of the artichokes have the common pointed top, with leaves slightly open, and another plant has flat topped artichokes, with the petals tightly closed. I thought something was wrong with the flat topped ones, but have been researching on Google, and both are apparently called Globe, but a huge difference in cleaning them, and their appearance. The pointed tops are much easier to trim, but do not know yet if difference in flavor or edible content. Different opinions on that, with some saying the pointed ones are better, and others saying they are the same as far as eating goes.
I will take pictures when some more grow out. They are easy to describe. The most common type seen in markets are pointed with the center petals definitely forming a point, and the petals are not as tight together, making it easier to get some cutters or scissors in between to cut off the thorns.
The others are very globular, and are sometimes seen in markets, but rarely. They are more pumpkin shaped with the top either flat or sunken, and the petals are very close together, making them harder to trim. I have not eaten one of the flat topped ones yet.
The second person that lives in Anza is Mountain Dweller.
I have not had any mature flat topped Artichokes to eat yet, but comments on Google did not agree on whether there was the same amount of edible material on the leaves. What is your opinion on that question? I will take some pictures of both types soon.
I took some pictures of the two types of artichokes my plants produce, and what i have found is the pointed type are much easier to cut the stickers from, but i did not see much difference in the taste. Linda thought the flat topped ones were a little sweeter. I will attach the pictures of the two different types. Both plants were sold as Globe Artichokes.
I do not think the two photos that i attached are the right ones, but the preview pix are too small to be sure. If there is not a difference in the artichokes on this post i will send a followup.
Those are great pics-the last one shows the pointed ones on the left pretty clearly.
Since you pointed out the different types, I have notice that although I thought I had one plant with two stems, there were apparently two separate seeds planted in the pot, because I do have both the pointed and flat topped type! We cut most of the 'flat' ones and took them down to my in-laws last weekend, so I can't show pics. And I don't have very distinctive taste buds..."it's all good" is my favorite answer about food-so I can't help with the taste issue. I am surprised that the growers don't differentiate more carefully when sowing the seeds. How long have the two types been out there? Maybe this is a new occurence, just the last few seasons?
Anyway, we had a couple of both last night. Instead of steaming, I did the typically lazy thing (for me) and tossed them into the covered baking dish with the chicken, potatos, carrots and onions, and baked them. After they cooled I just peeled them to the hearts, and enjoyed!
Is that wild black mustard over your fence? I hate that stuff! I'm fighting it hard on my propery this spring-spraying everything from Round-up to vinegar on them, cutting the tops with the weed-whacker and even hand clippers. I have promised myself I'll win this battle some day!
When i was researching i saw where there are 40 different types of artichokes, so these have probably been around a long time. All i ever saw in the market is the pointed kind, though. I plan to regenerate from the ones i have for several years, so i will have both kinds.
I have not heard of cooking them the way you did, but i will mention that to Linda, and we will try it. I used to pressure cook them and Linda just boils them. I have seen them split and grilled in restaurants.
That is a public easement behind my fence, but only used once a year by the Utility District, so i keep it mowed so i can watch for gophers. I do know that yellow weed as wild mustard, but have not heard it called "black" which most likely refers to the seed. We also have the lavender flowered wild radishes back there, but they are mowed down now. I am not able to mow the last few feet next to the flood control channel because of a tangle of wild rose bushes. The Roundup that is sold for homeowers ready mixed is not very powerful but if you can find some of the concentrated form, sold in farm supply stores and then use the full amount given for the mix, or even a little stronger, it will kill the mustard or almost anything else.
Thanks, Ernie-I didn't realize they made different forms of Roundup for different uses! I really hate using it, since it's a chemical, but I'm getting pretty frustrated with those things. Probably like you and the gophers...a constant battle!
M D, I think we are all a bit nervous around some of the pesticides, but i no longer worry about Roundup. My helper was coiling up the hose on the high pressure sprayer on the Nursery, and some way it twisted the gun in his hand and he shot me in the eyes, up my nose and in my mouth before i could get my mouth shut; I thought i was probably going to die or at least go blind, but i never felt a single thing or after effect from that, so i do not worry about Roundup anymore. It is the same chemical, just in concentrated form so you can make it stronger.
How awful! Thank goodness there were no side affects! Not something to do twice, for sure!
Which nursery do you work at/own? I work at the Southwest Wholesale Nursery in Murrieta/Temecula twice a week, just for fun really. It's a 50 mile one-way drive to hold a hose for 8 hours, but I love being around the plants, and I'm learning so much about plants I'd never heard of, and I love just looking at all the beauty around me all day.
MD, It was not that kind of Nursery. As a second career, after my children got old enough to run the Family Heavy Construction company, i moved to Idaho and started a Shade and Ornamental Tree Nursery, growing trees up to 3 inch diameter trunks, for finished landscaping. They were balled and burlapped, and we shipped throughout the Intermountain West. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah was our biggest area. Lots of Flowering Crabs, Cherries, Plums, etc, no fruit trees, and Maples, Birch, Aspen, etc. We sold to Retail Nurseries. We had about 30,000 trees in our inventory when i sold the Nursery, and about 30 miles of drip tube rows. We would have the trees for about 5 years while they were growing out. I loved the work, but i became too old.
It was a wonderful life. Work hard for four months, work regular for four months and then take the other four months off. The cold was not so bad, as we were working hard enough to keep warm when it was cold, but driving on ice gets old pretty fast.
I always enjoy wherever i live, even on the Mohave desert before modern Air Conditioning, but 18 years in Idaho were enough, and i do not want any more Desert Living with only a swamp cooler to keep me cool.
I really lucked out on the climate here at our house. We get a cool ocean breeze when the hills inland heat up, which is nearly every day in the summer. We do not need A/C here, except maybe 3 or 4 days last summer it would have been turned on if we had it.
We have an acre out in Dolan Springs, which is north of Kingman and east of Las Vegas, and the eastern most edge of the Mohave Desert. At 4000 feet, it's cooler than the low desert, but a bit toasty in the summer. When DH retires we will build a little house out there off grid-our power will be from solar, our water hauled until we dig a well. And we have already got a basement dug, one of the only ones in the area. No AC, and not even a swamp cooler, but if it gets really bad we'll have the underground area for a break. It will be pretty rustic living, but a dream we've both had all our lives. Chickesn, garden, etc. Of course I also dream of filling our acre with enough native and drought tolerant trees and plants to give shade and greenery.
Vista is a nice area, I drove through there all summer a few years back on my way to St Malo in Oceanside, painting houses on the beach. THAT was a nice job! The salt air wreaks havoc on house paint.
for those of you growing it in TX, is it possible to grow them in tropical climates? I've just moved to the gulf side of central FL and so want to grow them, but figured what put the effort in if they need cold to help them along.
Meadowyck, I have only grown them here in this location, which is much warmer than the area along the Central California Coast where the commercial production is, so they may not need Cold, but they do seem to do better in Cool.
My plants did fine the first year, with both beautiful plants and the fruit, but this year they became too big and leggy, and lots of fruit on each plant but the artichokes were much smaller and opened too soon. So, i cut the plants off at ground level, and will either let the shoots from the old roots re grow, or plant new plants, like i did last year.
Mine survived some 95 to 98 degree weather, but that was as hot as it got here.
We usually are in the 85-90 degrees here, when an almost daily shower that keeps us here.
I think I might just go ahead and try them, I sure do love them, and to think of all the years I would eat them because they were so funny looking...LOL then a friend made a dip that had them in it and I didn't know it and I couldn't stop eating the spinach/artichoke and my friend would tell me what it was until the end of the party...
Jan, I am pretty sure they will do fine the first year or 18 months, as they have for me. They say in cooler climates the plants produce for 5 or 6 years, but I loved the appearance last year, and until this summer started, and then they became too leggy to be attractive, so i am going to replant unless good plants come up from the roots.