The artichoke is native to the Mediterranean and is the edible flower bud of a thistle-like plant. One plant can produce 20 to 30 chokes. The young buds are eaten as a vegetable, but, the artichoke becomes inedible when the flower matures.
When To Plant
Artichoke plants need about 6 months and it will then be ready for harvest. This is yet another perennial and should produce for 5 to 10 years in cool climates. It is best to plant in the spring, and it is best to plant in Western climates. The artichoke plant gets rather large and have been know to be used as hedges and other landscaping applications.
Spacing & Depth
Plant offshoots or divisions of the artichoke plant about 6 inches deep with the tops above ground level. Space each plant 3 to 4 feet apart in rows and space each row 4 to 5 feet apart. Be sure to water these well.
Each plant will send up seasonal shoots, as a rule, the older the plant, the more number of shoots. Each shoot will form a cluster of large leaves from which the bud will appear on a center stem. Cut the stalks to the ground and mulch well after you have harvested. New shoots will grow from this base. Mulch neavy in very cold climates until the spring.
The buds are ready for harvest when the top bud is about 2 to 4 inches in diameter and still fairly compact. Cut your buds along with about 1 to 2 inches of the stem. The yield from 3 or 4 plants will supply a family. And once established an artichoke plant will provide you with healthy crops from 5 to 10 years.
Earwigs will be the artichoke's largest threat. Also, keep an eye out for aphids, caterpillars, and snails. Pest controls can be used on the artichoke plant.