Grow your own artichokes and enjoy the large, edible flower buds at their prime.
Attractive plants with grey-green foliage grow 4 ft. tall with a similar spread. High yields of sweet, mild tasting flower buds, 4½" in diameter are very slow to open when mature and are produced the first year.
Wrap artichoke seeds in a damp towel and store in the refrigerator for two weeks before sowing, this will provide them the 'cold period' that they need in order to germinate. Once chilled plant seeds 1/4" deep in individual pots 6-8 weeks before last expected frost. Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days. Grow in a sunny spot or under plant lights. Keep soil evenly moist as plants continue to grow.
How to Grow
Set artichoke plants out in the garden after the danger of hard frost is past. Before transfer to the garden, accustom seedlings to outdoor conditions by moving to a sheltered place outside for a week. Set plants 3-4' apart in rows 4-5' apart in a sunny location. Mulch deeply to keep the soil as cool as possible. In hot areas, afternoon shade is helpful. Artichoke and Cardoon both prefer deep, fertile, well-drained soil.
In areas with short growing seasons artichokes will not flower until the second year. The flower buds, and stalks, contain the tender heartmeat that is consumed. For a single harvest, cut the flower buds and stem down by the base of the leaves just before the bud open- about 180 days from transplant. . For multiple harvests, cut the flower bud one inch below the bud and allow the stem to send out additional flower buds. Successive buds will be smaller than the first, but just as tasty. The artichoke petals, heart, and stem all contain the tender fiber that is so delicious when steamed.