1. Check What Type of Area You Live inDepending on how cold it gets in your area, you need to choose an appropriate plant. For example, if you live in a climate where the temperatures drop in the winter somewhere between 10 °F (- 12 °C) and 20 °F (- 7 °C), you can plant artichokes each year. However, if you live in an area with a warm climate, you can grow a perennial variety. In the U.S., you should guide yourself by the zones established by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Zone 8 or higher are perfect for an annual variety.
2. Choose a Good LocationIn general, artichokes love a sunny position, but it needs to be sheltered. Ideally, you can place them in a border or in a large pot against a fence or a wall.
3. Choose a VarietalThe two main classifications of artichokes are:
- Imperial Star – annual plant;
- Green Globe – a perennial with a high produce;
- Violetta – very hardy;
- Opera – matures fast.
4. Choose Adequate SoilArtichokes love a soil that is rich, moist, and fertile. They are hardy plants, as we mentioned already, so they can grow in most types of soil if you feed them correctly and allow the soil to drain properly. One option would be to build raised beds to help with drainage if you know there is heavy rainfall in your area. Before planting, it’s good to prepare the soil with a hand’s depth of compost, which you need to till into the dirt. You can use a soil tester to assess the quality of your soil before starting to plant.
5. Plant the SeedsIf you want to take advantage of most of the growing season, you should start the seeds indoors. For this, you need 4-inch containers (10.2 cm) and start your seeds in them. Place them under fluorescent lights or in a special greenhouse which is heated. Deciding on how to grow artichokes can be a tough thing to do, but if you decide to grow them at a normal temperature, it might take up to a week for the seeds to germinate. If you notice the containers are too small, increase their size. A good idea is to start exposing the seedlings to brief outdoor periods 6 weeks before the last frost date.
6. Transfer the SeedlingsThree to four weeks before the last frost, you should move the seedlings outdoors. It’s recommended, in fact, to expose them to temperatures lower than 45 °F (7 °C) if you want to trigger the flowering process. At this point, the plants should be just as tall as your hand. Place them into the soil with the crown of the root system poking out. In 8 – 10 weeks, the healthy artichoke seedlings should have 2 sets of leaves and stocky stems. If you notice some of them don’t have, cull them.
7. Use TransplantsIf you want to know how to grow artichokes in a cold climate, you’ll need to use transplants. You should start growing the transplants indoors either in late winter or in early spring. As such, you will be able to harvest in late summer or early fall. If you want to establish roots quickly, it’s a good idea to buy rooted shoots from a greenhouse or a special online plant distributor. However, if you decide to do it yourself, take a serrated knife and cut an offshoot measuring 10 inches that grows at the base of the plant. Remember to dig around the offshoot to make sure you will also get the roots when you remove it.
8. Plant the ArtichokeWhen learning how to grow artichokes in your own backyard, it’s important to know how to space them. They should be placed at least 3 feet (0.9 m) apart if not 4 – 6 feet (1.2 – 1.8 m). This happens because they have large wingspans and need plenty of room to thrive. The same thing applies if you decide to use raised beds as well.
Can I Grow Artichokes Indoors as Part of Indoor Vegetable Gardening?
Artichokes can be successfully grown indoors as part of indoor vegetable gardening. With the right indoor vegetable gardening essentials, such as sufficient light and a well-draining potting mix, you can enjoy fresh artichokes right from your own home. Remember to provide them with enough space to grow and regular watering to ensure their healthy development.