Hmm, we will see about that(?) I tried to grow some globe artichokes a few years ago and some nasty fungus or other pathogen set into them when they had gotten about 2′ high. However, I am a sucker for challenges and especially like to try somewhat unconventional stuff that nobody else is growing in the area – that and the fact we love artichokes and they are now getting too expensive. Therefore, I am giving it another try.
The globe artichokes are the conventional ones purchased in the grocery stores and have traditionally been grown in the cooler climates of California etc. They like the mild coastal climates that get neither too hot nor cold (kind of like us humans eh?). Of course, where I live the biggest problem is the heat, and though they don’t completely die in the heat, it will effect their production and quality of the harvest. However, because I live close to the coast, I may have a slight advantage with temperature moderation. It is my understanding that the “emerald” artichokes are little more forgiving in these respects, and so I decided to go with this variety presently (that in the fact I stumbled upon them in Lowe’s.)
Most artichokes take a long time to to begin production (like 100 days for my variety) and they must also experience a season of cold before being productive (called vernilization). Sooo..I planted these from seed exactly one month ago and only two came up out of 12 seeds planted, but the two that did come up can be seen in this pic.
Artichokes have a characteristic of being quite variable from one seedling to another, and so it is usually advisable to purchase root stock from a known productive plant. I am going to plant a few more of these and I hope to get some production out of these two this year – since I think they got the required 10 days vernilization below 50 degrees F etc. Once I get a productive plant or two going, I will (hopefully) use this for root stock towards future plantings.
Artichokes also like a very rich and moist soil.. preferring composts and manures. Because I have so much vermicompost on hand, I am hoping this will make a difference this time around. As I have noted in previous articles, vermicompost is also excellent for control of various pathogens. I will update with progress, but meanwhile, check out some cool artichoke plant pics on flickr. Seems like a lovely addition to the garden.