Understanding the Art of Growing Artichokes
Growing artichokes can be a delightful garden adventure if you understand the methods and tactics that guarantee good yield. This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know to successfully grow your own artichokes. A wonderful perennial plant, artichokes can beautify your garden while providing you with fresh produce for the season.
Recognising the Types of Artichokes
Artichokes come in two distinct types; Globe and Cardoon. The Globe Artichoke is the one widely used in cooking and are known for their tender heart. Cardoon Artichokes, on the other hand, are more decorative, known for their elegant, arching silvery-gray leaves.
Choosing the Suitable Variety for Your Climate
There are many varieties to grow depending on your location and climate conditions. Some notable ones include Green Globe, Imperial Star, Tavor, and Violetto. An essential part of successful artichoke farming is choosing a variety suitable for your specific region.
Starting Artichoke Seeds Indoors
Consider starting your artichokes indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date. At about 6-8 weeks old, the young plants are robust enough to be moved outdoors. Achieving growth from artichoke seeds requires considerable effort, but the payoff is absolutely worthwhile.
Planting Your Artichokes
Find a suitable place in your garden that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. Transplant your artichokes, spacing them around 3-5 feet apart to allow for ample growth. Bury them about 6-8 inches deep and water thoroughly after planting.
Feeding Your Artichokes
Artichokes are heavy feeders and need good nutrition for abundant harvests. Amending the soil with organic compost prior to planting can provide all the nutrients your artichokes need. During their growing season, consider using a slow-release fertilizer to maintain their nutritional needs.
Watering Your Artichokes Accurately
Provide your artichokes with regular watering; they prefer moist but not soggy soil. Inadequate watering can result in smaller and harder buds. However, be mindful of over watering which could lead to root rot.
Caring for Your Plants and Harvesting Artichokes
The care procedures for your artichoke plants include cutting off spent flowers, mulching to help retain soil moisture, and protecting them from frost in winter. The ideal time to harvest artichokes is when the buds are still closed and firm to touch, typically in mid-summer or early fall.
Handling Pests and Diseases
Artichokes are prone to common pests like snails and slugs and diseases such as Verticillium Wilt and Botrytis rot. Understanding how to naturally control these invaders can result in healthier and more productive plants.
Storing Your Harvest
After harvesting, artichokes can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for about one to two weeks. They can be longer preserved by pickling, freezing, or drying.
Growing artichokes may seem complex initially, but once you understand the process and the care needed, it becomes a great addition to your gardening routine. The satisfaction of going to your garden and picking a fresh artichoke to cook with is an unmatched experience.
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