When to Plant Artichokes in a Vegetable Garden?
If you live in a cool climate, the best time to plant artichokes outdoors is in the spring, after the last frost. They’re hardy to USDA zones 7–11, where they can survive as perennials. In these zones, they can be grown from seed planted in late summer, or from young plants transplanted in the middle of the fall.
If you’re going to grow artichokes as annual plants, you’ll need to purchase them as container plants in their second year. Growing them from seed will probably be unsuccessful if they can’t survive the winter – they typically take 2 years to flower. However, there are varieties like ‘Imperial Star’ or ‘Emerald,’ which are bred to flower in their first year given the right conditions.
How to Grow Artichokes From Seed?
Do you live in the right climate zone and have the patience to wait for your artichokes to mature? Then let’s discuss how to grow artichokes from seed.
Annual varieties should be started indoors under grow lights, about 10–12 weeks before the last frost date (in late winter). Additionally, you should heat the pots from the bottom to maintain a soil temperature of 60–80°F (16–27°C). This can be done with a heating pad placed underneath the pots.
Once the seeds have germinated, move the seedlings into larger containers. Wait until 3–4 weeks before the last expected frost, then transplant them outside. Exposing the plants to cold temperatures (35–50°F) for 10-14 days is necessary if you want them to flower in the first year. They’ll produce chokes in the late summer or fall.
If you live in a warm climate, you can direct-sow artichoke seeds in your garden in late summer or early fall. Do this after the temperatures have cooled down and the rains have arrived. When the winter comes, surround the plants with a wire cage (3–4 feet tall) with a foot of compost and enough straw to fill the cage.
Cover the cage with a tarp and pin down the edges. This will protect the artichokes from freezing temperatures and hungry rodents. Next spring, remove the mulch 3 weeks before the last expected frost – this will induce flowering.
How to Grow Artichokes From Crowns?
Now that you know how to grow artichokes from seed, let’s discuss how to grow them from crowns. This is the most common way to grow this vegetable.
You can purchase artichoke crowns from a nursery or online retailer in the spring. Look for healthy-looking crowns with no sign of disease. Then, follow these instructions for how to grow artichokes from crowns:
- Prepare the planting bed by adding compost and working it into the first 12 inches of soil.
- Mix in a slow-release fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium, according to the package directions.
- Water the bed thoroughly before planting.
- Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots of the plant without crowding. It should be 6–8 inches deep. Add rooting hormone formulated with mycorrhizae if you have it.
- Place the root crown in the hole and cover it with soil, then mulch with an inch or two of straw, wood chips, or shredded leaves.
- In the spring, apply a dose of high-nitrogen fertilizer and water regularly.
How to Grow Jerusalem Artichokes?
Jerusalem artichokes are different from the globe artichokes typically found in grocery stores. They’re actually a type of sunflower, and their tubers are edible. How to grow Jerusalem artichokes? Plant the tubers in early spring, 12–18 inches apart and no more than 5 inches deep. Give them an inch of water per week.
They should be ready to harvest after 20 weeks. To do this, simply loosen the soil with a spading fork and lift the tubers. They can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months.
Now you know how to grow artichokes! By following these instructions, you can enjoy this delicious vegetable for years to come.