Yesterday I bought 2 artichoke plants. They were in gallon pots so they are sizeable plants already. One of them had a smaller plant next to the big one so I really got 3. This is my first try to raise them, does anybody have any growing tips? How many buds will I get if they do well? Do all the buds form pretty much at once, or will I get an extended harvest if I keep them picked (and eaten!) as they form?
Artichokes are biannuals I understand, and I've read that you can fool the plant into thinking it is older than it is. I want to start some seeds in the fall, let them grow about 6 weeks, "winter" them in the referigerator and wake them up the following spring. The plant is then supposed to "think" that it is on it's 2nd summer and start making buds. They wouldn't survive the winter here even with a good mulch. Cool idea, huh?
Update. My plants have buds! One plant has just one bud so far but the other one has several, the bud in the center is about 3 inches in diameter and there are several small ones beside and below it. Oh boy, it won't be long until we get to eat!
The only artichokes I start up here are the Imperial Star. They set fruit the first year, and that's important, since they won't winter over. I got some fruit one warm summer, but I think they'd do better in my greenhouse.
No, I haven't done the seed thing yet, these are on the ones I bought. I had no idea I would see buds so soon! Thanks Weez for the info on Imperial Star, I'll try those. When do you start them? No artificial winter?
Thanks Weez, do you grow any of them to sell? They would be pretty exotic up where you live. I wonder if they could be planted outside pretty early in the spring about pea planting time)with a tire around them for protection and a piece of plexiglas for a roof?
MaryE: I haven't grown them to sell, since they take so long, and the seeds are fairly expensive and don't always germinate. However, I have a friend that grows them outdoors every year, so I start some for her. I don't think we could start these outdoors. They need to be fairly well developed before we put them out, and that would be after June 1 when the frost danger is past. Using a coldframe is one way to keep them going, and that's more or less what your suggestion of plexiglass suggestion does.
We ate our first 2 artichokes tonight, they were very good and mild flavored, milder than any I ever bought. It must be the lack of chemicals that made the difference. i picked them when the bud looked like it wanted to open but that might have been just a little too soon. I think my mouth watered every time I walked past them. There are a few more buds growing, the largest ones are golf ball size so it will be a while, but with these 100* days they should grow fast if I can keep them watered.
I'm so jealous, MaryE... nothing like a fresh artichoke! My plants are in the greenhouse, and still woefully small. It's a chilly summer here, so I don't know if I'll see a single artichoke before first freeze in the fall.
We got a total of 6 artichokes off 2 plants. The last 4 were smaller and not quite as mild flavored as the first 2 which were on the central stalks. The 3rd plant, which was a much smaller plant growing in the same pot with one of the bigger ones, hasn't got any sign of a seed stalk. It might be a younger plant, and I think I will lift it and plant it in a big pot for winter in the basement, let it go dormant, and replant it next spring if it doesn't make a seed stalk this year.