Artichokes


#1

I just ordered some artichoke seed to try this season from Johnny’s. They just have the varieties that are supposed to be able to be treated like annuals. Does anyone else grow them out of their preferred climate that has any tips for success? I tried starting some seeds last winter but none germinated.


#2

How far out of their climate are you? I grow them in 6b Utah with no problems from freezing. I cut them back in the fall, cover them with straw and lay a tarp over them, this will get the root crowns to come back in the spring. When over wintering it is important to make sure the root crowns don’t get wet or they will rot and die. That’s why I use the tarp to keep the water/snow off. Rot may be an issue in humid climates but I don’t have experience with this. Also you need to make sure some of the green leafy material makes it through the winter or once again it will die, just make sure to use a lot of straw to insulate the plant.
Other growing tips,
They like a lot of sun, if they get any shade they wont grow as big and wont produce as many buds. They like a lot of fertilizer so don’t be shy with the ammonium sulfate. I use mine as a border plant and if you let them bloom the flowers are big neon purple stomping grounds for bumble bees.
My biggest pests are aphids and earwigs but I don’t usually have to spray. If I ever do spray it is just soap for the aphids when it is a wet spring. Later in the season they can attract wasps with extrafloral nectories but they never really bother me.
Last they aren’t big producers but I personally feel like a young artichoke out of the garden is a delicacy! My family and I wait for them every summer. We call them vegan lobster because they have a similar sweet flavor to them dipped in butter!


#3

Thanks for the suggestions! That’s really helpful. I’m on the zone 4/5 line. I’ve got a good sunny spot on the edge of my garden. I got some cardoon too. Hopefully it’s not redundant. It looks like the plants get pretty big.


#4

Here they are so far. I should’ve waited a little longer before starting them. I’ve already chopped them off once. It looks like it’s supposed to be above freezing most nights for awhile I’m thinking of bringing them outside for their vernalization period.


#5

Travis,
Which one(s) did you decide to go with? I have been wanting to try start some from seed for the last few years, but I don’t typically order seed early enough, and I miss my window for starting from seed. I am in zone 5b/6a, so I look forward to seeing how yours perform and (hopefully) overwinter!


#6

I actually ordered all three they have listed. Some are doing better than others though. They’re imperial star, tavor, and colorado star. They’re supposed to produce flowers the first year if you do the cold treatment right. I got them moved outside now to make them think they went through a season. I also planted cardoon. I have no idea what that’s like but it’s growing like crazy.


#7

A friend did cardoons in 6a last year and they were massive. Very striking visually.
I thought about trying to cook some but the process is pretty complicated and I just…didn’t.


#8

I wanted to try Imperial Star…
I love pickled artichokes and they can be pretty expensive in the stores here. That’s why I thought I should grow and pickle my own. I really have to make a note to order seed early, right around Christmas so I have time to get stuff ready and get them started in January.
Funny thing, I have never eaten a fresh artichoke! Don’t even know if I would like it, but I am betting yes. Hope you have great success with your 'chokes and cardoons. Never had cardoon either…


#9

I’ve never had them fresh either. Every year I like to try something new and completely different. So we’ll see!


#10

Me too! If you post updates on your plants throughout the growing season, I will enjoy seeing how they do for you. Maybe I can figure out the best cultivar to try here.
I grew peanuts one year, just for fun. They actually did really good here! I tried celeriac last year, liked it a lot and am growing it again this year. Growing a bunch of novelty/specialty pumpkins and squash, again- just for fun. I am the only one in my family that even likes squash. :smirk: That’s about it for new and exciting veggies for me.


#11

I’m glad you liked celeriac, I’ve got a flat of them started this year too. Also going to try parsnips for the first time. At least squash should keep quite awhile for you.


#12

The celeriac was mildly celery-tasting, not overly strong. It was good sauteed in butter or cook as you would to make mashed potatoes.
The above ground biomass was impressive though! I picked and dried bunches of the leafy tops and have been using them as celery replacements this winter to add flavor to soup or stews. That has been a bonus!
I covered several plants, trying to overwinter them. If they survived and grow this spring, the 2nd year plants will flower and produce seed, which I can save. I checked one area yesterday and I am not optimistic that any survived the winter.
Hope you get good germination with your parsnips! I tried those a couple years but never had much success, but I suspect it was due to old seed.


#13

Did you dry the leaves or use them fresh?

From what I was reading about parsnips is they need fresh seed. Also, it seems like the take awhile to germinate. I’ll probably seed them thick and hope for the best.


#14

I picked the celeriac stalks fresh, then washed them, dried as best as I could with clean dish towels. I placed them on cookie sheets to dry. I flipped them over a few times to speed the drying, but I just had them sitting on the counter in my kitchen. I didn’t use a dehydrator or the oven, they dried within a few days.
Yes, the parsnip seed has to be fresh. When I tried to grow it, it was on a whim. I picked up some seed at the hardware store that caught my eye. I don’t know if it had been packaged for that current year or not. I planted straight into the garden, which is hard to do with seeds that take a long time to germinate. I may have let it get dry, stepped on it too many times, etc. When I try them again in the future, I will start them indoors. I could at least track how long germination takes under a more controlled setting, but I don’t know if they transplant well.


#15

I grew them–artichokes-- from seed last year…they did flower but they rotted out…i have ot figure out how to protect them better from rot… it was really rainy so i’m sure the contributed.