How To Grow Artichoke
Plant Type: Perennial – grown as annual
Name: Cynara Scolymus
Light: Full sun to partial shade (afternoon shade on hot days)
Soil Type: Rich loamy soil, well drained
Soil Temperature: 75 – 80°
ph Range: 6.0 – 7.0
Plant (Payson): May 27
Planting Method: Seed or root stock
Germination (days): 10 – 14
Transplant: from dormant root stock
Maturity (days): 150 – 180
Common Pests: Slugs, aphids
Common Diseases: Botrysis (gray mold), southern blight, verticillium wilt
The artichoke, Cynara scolymus, can be grown almost anywhere but prefers cool, moist summers and mild winters.
In Payson we have cool nights, warm to hot summer days, mostly on the dry side. Winters can be quite cold. Here it is best to treat artichokes as annuals, but fun to try to keep the roots alive over the winter. Grown as annuals and using transplants, it is possible to produce fruit in 90-100 days.
To grow as a perennial the plants must be protected from frost. In the fall, cut back to one foot height, tie the leaves over the root ball, and cover completely with mulch
Whatever your choice for starting artichokes, the plants will prosper in slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. Full sun is best unless you live in an area with hot summers, then afternoon shade may prove beneficial.
You can buy dormant artichoke roots at some nurseries. If you can’t find any in Payson, try one of the seed catalogs. Plants can be placed in the garden as soon as all danger of frost has passed. Root should be planted vertically with the top buds slightly above soil level. Allow lots of space. Artichokes can grow to 6 foot diameter
Start seeds indoor 8-10 weeks before the expected last spring frost. Artichokes are heavy feeders, so add fish emulsion or a balanced fertilizer to the potting medium. The seedlings should be sturdy, 8-10 inch high at time of transplanting.
Mulch your transplants with a general purpose mulch or compost. Artichokes can be somewhat drought tolerant, but a moist bed is best.
The most important key to having tasty, tender artichokes is a moist planting bed. During hot, dry summer days it may be necessary to water three times a week. Water is also essential for good, deep root formation. On the other hand, poor drainage can cause the root crown to rot, so be careful not to over-water.
Artichokes are heavy feeders. Start the spring with a dressing of manure and organic matter worked into the soil. When planting, add a cup of all-purpose fertilizer to each planting hole. Thereafter, do side dressings of fertilizer once a month during the growing season.WEEDING
Mulch should reduce weed growth and the plant itself will shade the bed and keep weeds from getting sun. If weeds occur, control by hand.DISEASE
The most common diseases are Botrytis (gray mold), southern blight and verticillium wilt. Good garden hygiene and plant spacing might help. Control aphids, as they spread various diseases.
Aphids and slugs are the most common problems for artichokes. Rinse aphids off with a spray of water. Use organic slug bait for slugs.
The green “flowers” that form at the tops of one inch stalks are the part of the plant we eat. Fruit should be a bit larger than fist size with leaves clinging tightly together. Cut the stem just below the fruit bud.
Artichokes will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator vegetable bin. Firmly ripe fruit
can be preserved using a pressure canner.