Artichokes, which are known botanically as Cynara scolymus, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing artichokes as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.
Best Time to Plant Artichokes
This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the artichoke seeds in early spring indoors, transplant outdoors after last frost. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.
To check when artichokes are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.
How to Plant Artichokes the Right Way
There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing artichokes in your home garden.
Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your artichokes grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 6.5 to 7.5.
6-8″ apart in rows 12-18″ apart. 4-6 feet apart in rows 6-8 feet apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 4-6″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.
Begin thinning your artichoke seedlings 4-6 feet apart when seedlings are 6-8″ tall.
How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Artichokes
The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your artichokes. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.
Ideally, your artichokes should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.
How Much to Water Artichokes
As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your artichokes do, and the amount of water is no different.
Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your artichokes begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.
Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.
How Long Does it Take Artichokes to Germinate and Grow?
Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your artichokes grow.
It takes approximately 10-14 days to germinate, and a total of 85-100 days from seed to harvest.
When to Harvest Artichokes
The best time to harvest your artichokes is when the bud is tight and firm, just before the bracts start to open.
Artichokes can grow up to about 3-6″ diameter buds.
What Can Artichokes Be Used For?
Food Use: great for steaming, grilling, and in dips.
Flavor Profile: tender, slightly nutty, and mildly sweet.
Can Artichokes Grow in Pots and Containers?
No, it is generally not advised to grow artichokes in pots or containers.
Are Artichokes Safe for Bees?
Yes, artichokes are safe for bees.
According to GreenPeace.org, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.
Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing artichokes is bee-friendly.