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All About Artichokes

CAN I GROW ARTICHOKES?
Artichokes are best grown in damp weather, with cool summer temperatures and mild winters. They are grown commercially in coastal areas of Northern California. Artichokes are perennials that can survive for up to 6 years in mild-winter areas. Northern gardeners can grow them as an annual by starting indoors early and then harvesting in the fall.
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PLANT HISTORY
Cultivated and enjoyed for centuries, the Artichoke is a Mediterranean country native. First gaining popularity in the 1950's in a groundswell of interest, mainly for their exotic look and gourmet flavor.
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ARTICHOKE SEEDS OR PLANTS?
Start your Artichoke seeds indoors about 2 months before the first frost in your area. You'll be picking fresh Artichokes from midsummer throughout the fall.
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CULTIVATION
Artichokes are heavy feeders and need moist, well-drained soil. Enrich with plenty of organic materials. Artichokes cannot survive extremely cold winters, but a thick layer of mulch will get them through most mild winters.
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ARTICHOKE GROWING TIPS
Artichokes need at least 5 feet between plants. Keep plants well watered.  Artichokes are heavy feeders.
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INSECTS & DISEASES
Artichokes are sometimes attacked by aphids or slugs. You can control these pests with a simple insecticidal soap (for the aphids) and the common slug traps for slugs. Cut the stems to the ground in the fall to discourage pests.

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ARTICHOKE HARVEST TIPS
Artichokes are ready for harvest when they are about the size of an apple. Just cut the stem below the bud and you're ready to enjoy.

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RECIPES & STORAGE
Serve cooked Artichokes hot or cold. Great with a dipping sauce or even butter. Artichokes will last a week or so in the refrigerator.
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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Tailor the menu at your bird feeders to discourage unwanted visitors. Thistle seed attracts finches, pine siskins and redpolls, but most sparrows, squirrels and blackbirds do not care for it.
    Safflower seed attracts cardinals and discourages squirrels and sparrows. To discourage pigeons avoid ground feeding and use seed mixes without cracked corn.
    Before filling feeders for the first time this fall, thoroughly clean them using a 10% bleach to water solution. Do the same for birdbaths and houses.