Autumn Artichoke

Planting Artichoke in the Fall

Artichoke Seed

Artichokes grown as perennials can be planted in the fall, harvest can begin in early as spring. Maturation and harvest will continue through the following spring unless interrupted by frost. Peak production however occurs in spring. They will thrive best as a perennial in temperate areas with mild winters where the temps do not dip below zero all too often, In colder regions it should be grown as an annual and planted in early spring. Mild summers where the prevailing temps stay below the mid 80s [F] most of time is also a plus. Under the correct climate and growing conditions a plant will remain productive for roughly 5 years.

In suitable regions root-stock can be planted outdoors in late summer or early fall - when well mulched and cared for they should prosper come spring.

If you would like to try Direct seeding into the ground it can be done where winters average above 15�F, but be advised the germination rate is very low.

To start artichoke as a perennial from seeds - start seeds indoors 4 - 6 weeks prior to the first anticipated fall frost in your area. Plant in pots or seed trays the same as most other seeds.

Soak the seeds for 2 days to soften the seed-coat, and then hold the moist seed for up to 3 weeks at temperatures of roughly 40 F in a well ventilated area, lack of aeration can result in delayed germination as well as cause seed to rot.

Sow the artichoke seeds approximately �" deep in lightly moistened potting soil. Be sure the soil is adequately drained or the seeds will probably decay before germinating. Artichoke Seeds, even when successfully direct seeded will occasionally yield an herb that is a throwback to its thistle ancestry, they don't always grow true their labeled variety.

As soon as seedlings can be handled they should be transplanted to larger pots and kept in a sunny area, such as a window, florida room or even green house if available. Optimal Temperatures of 60�F - 70� F days and 50�F-60� F nights.

Come Spring you should have suitable seedlings equal to about 2/3 of the seeds you planted. I generally anticipate that 1/3 will never germinate or will produce inferior seedlings not worth wasting valuable garden space on.

Before transplanting them into your garden, a brief hardening off period is advisable.

At maturity they should reach 3 -4 feet in height with a spread of up to 6 feet so be sure to leave ample space for them to grow when you transplant them outdoors. In Zones 7 and above, plant the artichokes to the side so that the more frequent planting of annual vegetables won't disturb them. Space the artichoke plants at 4'-6' feet within the row with 6 to 8 feet between the rows.

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