Artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) are often used for a variety of gardening purposes, as decoration in a flower bed where they will compliment many garden designs and, for the kitchen and their edible and tasty flower buds.
They are easy to grow and with a little knowledge and some care during dry weather you will have artichoke plants providing food and interesting garden decor.
You should plant your artichokes in full sun and in a well drained soil that has been improved with compost and manure. Regular watering will be needed as well as feeding with an organic fertilizer or manure to make sure that you get the best results. The plants take about 3 months to mature and produce the edible flower buds.
How long does it take to grow artichokes?
Once the seedlings are established they will take around 3 months to grow and produce a harvest of edible flower buds.
- Name: Green Globe Artichoke Seeds | Type: Heirloom Seeds
- Size at Maturity: Up to 40 Inches | Days to Maturity: 120 Days
- Light Requirement: Full Sun | Planting Time: Warm Season
- Sowing Method: Direct Sow | Planting Depth: 1/2″ | Plant Spacing: 36″
When should you plant artichokes?
Artichokes are best to plant as early in the season as you can, while still using fresh seed and not using any leftover seeds that have been stored for years.
Artichokes should be planted from mid-March until mid-July depending on your location.
Your climate will determine how much of a harvest you get, but the earlier you plant the better results you will get.
Artichokes are best out of cool weather because they have a low tolerance for heat and humidity.
How many artichokes do you get per plant?
Each plant can produce around 10 to 20 flower buds depending on the variety that you are growing.
How do you Grow an Artichoke?
Artichokes require well drained soil with lots of organic material mixed into it and a source of water for irrigation.
There should also be plenty of room between plants as they grow quite tall especially if grown in full sun.
The soil should be prepared a few months before you place the seedlings into the ground and it is best to dig at least five inches of composted material into the soil, mixing that with other organic matter such as manure.
While your soil is being enriched by all this good stuff make sure to get yourself some proper artichoke seeds and collect them yourself or buy them from a reputable supplier.
Once the soil has been enriched you can then plant your artichokes by putting some compost down in holes at least five inches deep, drop one seed into each hole and keep the ground moist but not soggy with plenty of water every day for two weeks.
If you don’t get germination after two weeks then you should discard the seed and try again with a new one.
Artichokes are very sensitive to even a little bit of pesticides in the soil, so make sure that if you have sprayed anything on your property that is not certified organic then just avoid planting them for now until next season.
Once the seedlings are up and growing then you can begin fertilizing them with an organic fertilizer or manure every couple of weeks to help them grow tall and strong.
How to Grow Artichokes in pots
If your soil or weather is unsuitable for outdoor growing of artichokes then you could try growing them indoors, in a pot.
Choose a large pot, about 3 feet wide by a foot deep and make sure that it has drainage holes in the base.
Fill with a good quality compost and water this well before planting the seeds.
You will need to feed your plants as they grow during the summer, an organic fertlizer mixed with water such as a tomato fertilizer will encourage growth and flowering
Do artichokes need full sun?
Artichokes will grow in part shade, but they will produce bigger and better buds if grown in full sun.
How to plant artichokes from seed?
Plant artichoke seeds about two inches apart and one inch deep into the compost rich soil.
Water well after planting them and keep the ground moist as often as you can, but don’t let it become soggy.
During the hot summer months water your artichokes at least once a week or more if you have had little rain.
As they grow keep an eye on the plants and thin out any extra seedlings so that each plant has plenty of room to grow, allowing for 3 to 4 feet between plants.
Fertilize every two weeks with manure and a liquid organic fertilizer or manure tea.
Your artichoke will flower out of an old bract, this should be left on the plant but only one bud will form.
If you let all the flowers develop then it’s possible the bud will begin to rot and you won’t get any harvest at all, so only let the top flower develop.
How do I harvest?
When your artichoke is ready for harvesting cut it off just below the leaf (or petiole) where it joins onto the stem. Leave a few inches of the stalk on and throw this away.
The bud can now be stored for up to six weeks if you keep it in a cool dry place and make sure that the temperature stays between 37 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, just ensure there is plenty of air movement around the buds.
How to overwinter artichokes
As artichokes are perennial plants they will die back towards the end of the growing season.
If you live in an area that experiences frost or prolonged cold spells then your plants will not survive the winter without some form of intervention.
Many gardeners cover the plants with straw and old carpet to act as insulation and protection, but the best method is to dig the dormant plants out of the ground, wrap them in dry newspaper and store them in a frost free shed or outbuilding, ready for planting in the following spring.
Artichokes are a unique plant that require some specific care to thrive.
Whether you’re planting them in pots, or outdoors with the right weather conditions, these tips will help you get started on your journey of cultivating artichoke plants.
If you’re an experienced grower of vegetables, then the tips above will be a walk in the park for you.
If this is the first time that you have grown artichoke plants, then try a small number of plants first to see if you like them and if they are suitable for your garden.