Learning Download: How to Grow Artichokes
Seeing the large globe of an artichoke and imagining growing the edible beast in a garden may seem intimidating, but artichokes can be an easy and striking addition with the ability to grow almost anywhere in the United States. Depending on climate, some artichoke plants may return as perennials.
Before Planting: Artichokes require very fertile, well-drained soils with a pH of 6.5–8.0.
Planting: Artichoke seeds can be started in February in a greenhouse or under a fluorescent light, planted about 1/4-inch deep in 4-inch containers. Transport seedlings to the garden 8 to 10 weeks later, but be sure the danger of frost has passed. By then, the transplant should be nearing 10 inches in height. Plant the seedlings four feet or more apart as the plants grow large. Where winter low is above 15°F, sow seeds in fall, harvest in spring.
Watering: Artichokes need watering once a week, but can vary. If soil is heavy and holds moisture well, water less often. For warmer regions, water more frequently, but do not allow artichokes to stand in water.
Fertilizer: Artichokes require nutrient-rich soil, so be sure to fertilize with fish emulsion.
Days to Maturity: Harvest buds measuring at least three inches across while the bud is still closed. The more a bud opens, it becomes bitter, and fully open buds are inedible. (85-100 days)
Harvesting: Clip mature buds midsummer to mid-fall, depending on location.
Tips: To induce early budding time, transplant so plants receive 10 days of 45–50°F temperatures. Protect from frost at night.