August 18, 2011

Artichoke.. I really want you to do something!!

My Glorious Artichoke, with a wall of sunflowers for shade.
Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my mom boiling up the most tasty dish ever. Usually when she'd cook it, it would be the "first course" then we would have a main dish a bit after it had settled. I recall forgetting what it was a lot as a little kid, but eventually learned that one of my favorite vegetables is the Artichoke!
When I first saw this plant at the hardware garden center (the locally owned one, at that!) I was sure it was some kind of odd fern. It was sort of brown, wilting, and had one tiny little bitty green leaf inside. 3 leaves total, perhaps no more than a foot high out of the ground. After a closer inspection, I made out the handwritten tag stating the plant was in fact an Artichoke! I eagerly ran over to my boyfriend to present it to him, and ask ever so politely if he would buy it for me. I'm just sweet as pie.. sometimes.
He happily bought it for me, as he is equally excited about the results of my gardening. He does tend to stay away from the actual garden work, but he shows just the right amount of enthusiasm for my hobby to make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Now that I HAD this poor little, wilting artichoke.. I needed to do something about it!
The young artichoke, perhaps a week old in this photo.
At first, the plant did not seem incredibly thrilled about it's new home. The outter leaves turned completely brown, and I was completely devastated in thinking I had lost my precious new addition. After doing some research, I discovered that the artichokes love lots of water. I wet the soil very well, and continued to do so until it started perking up. On a few very sunny days, the young plant actually wilted to the point where it was laying flat on the ground. I SURELY, most DEFINITELY lost the plant this time.. absolutely, I thought. I covered it with mesh and watered the sucker until I was sure now it would just drown.
Somehow my beautiful plant did not die. I grew some sunflowers in front of the 'choke to give it some permanent shade without really having any negative effects on other plants.. Just have to make sure to water well as they're both very heavy feeders.

I discovered that some people grow these as annuals.. but I have no idea how they would bloom here in time. I didn't realize the amount of time this guy needed when I puchased him, and I worry that I may need to pot it up when it gets cold out. However, I have ready that if mulched well and cared for, someone in my Zone 8 could possibly overwinter (as long as the winter is not too harsh.. uh oh, I heard we're getting a visit from La Nina Again..) to produce for a few years. The artichoke is a perennial, after all.

After establishing a bit. Tiny sunflower sprouts below!

More new leaves! This is about a month after planting.
I am so excited to eat up an artichoke from my own home garden. I really hope that this plant overwinters, and perhaps multiplies. I would love to be able to divide it and share a plant with my mother. If you would enjoy a more detailed post about how to grow Artichokes, please check out this other great blog! I don't run it, or know them, but it is very useful.

No comments:

Post a Comment