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Grow Your Own Artichokes

| 1/28/2016 5:00:00 PM

Artichoke seedlings on a light shelf.

Yes, you can grow your own artichokes! If you have a growing season of 90 warm days, you can grow ‘Imperial Star’; ‘Emerald’ needs 100 days at least. Spring-planted artichokes will be ready for harvest in the fall. Overwintered perennial and fall-planted artichokes will be ready to cut in spring.

The first years I planted artichoke seeds, I had very low germination but still got a nice amount of seedlings to plant. Then, last year, I wanted to experiment with the Italian timing, which is to start seeds in late summer, plant out in the fall to produce a spring crop. I got nearly perfect germination.

In summer, I keep my house at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, which is actually the ideal germination temperature for artichokes. During winter, the house is only 67 degrees and, when a heat mat is used, it’s just too warm for them (great for tomatoes and peppers, but too hot for artichokes).

So, your first step will be to find a place in your home that’s about 76 degrees. Come to find, the top of the enclosed refrigerator is just perfect. Just be sure you check every morning first thing and move any that have just germinated to your light shelf. You can also try putting another empty flat under them, upside down, raising them off the heat mat.

Artichoke Varieties to Try

Be sure to get high quality seeds! The best I have found are the ‘Emerald’ variety from NESeed, and I have also grown very nice ‘Romanesco’ variety from Gourmet International.

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