Artichokes are a species of thistle whose edible portion is the flower bud, before
the flowers come into bloom.
How to grow: The instructions below are for zone 9, more information can be found for other regions in the “more info” section below. Look for the Bonnie plants link.
Planting time: Spring/Fall
Indoors: 6 weeks before last frost date, late November – early January
Direct sow: Mid-Feb – March
Transplant: Late Feb – late March (after frost)
Germination Time: 10-20 days
Grow Height: 3-4′ tall and 4′ wide.
Spacing: 3′ – 5′ apart. Plant can grow for up to 5 years where they are planted.
Soil: Fertile, well draining soil – sandy or loamy. 5″ of compost into a trench 8″ deep and equally wide.
Sun: Full to partial shade.
Fertilizer: Apply a liquid high-potassium fertilizer (potash) every 2 weeks during periods of active growth. When buds begin to form, apply a 4″ thick layer of compost around each plant, outward 12″.
Harvest: 85-100 days.
Companion Plants: Cucumber, sunflower, corn, peas, tarragon, and members of the cabbage family.
Pests/Problems: Slugs, aphids, and botrytis blight
Solutions: Cut off leaves infected with botrytis blight and destroy them. Treat the plant with neem oil (fungicide).
Treat aphids with insecticidal soap.
Use slug traps or baits.
Water: Water about once a week. If soil is heavy and holds moisture, water less often. Hot regions, water more often. Plants won’t survive over watering, and too little will result in loose buds with poor taste. Avoid summer droughts and winter waterlog.
Zones 8 and warmer: After fall harvest, cut plants down to the ground level and mulch with 3-4″ of organic material (dry grass clippings, straw, leaves, ages manure, etc.).
Nutrition Facts: 1 Medium Artichoke
60 calories, 13 carbs, .2g fat, 4.2g protein
Vit C 25%, Vit B6 5%, Calcium 5%, Iron 8%, Magnesium 19%
Health Benefits: Artichokes are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin K, folic acid, manganese, and potassium. They can help with digestive issues, lower cholesterol levels, protect the liver, and may help prevent cancer.
Videos: How to grow, prepare, & eat: