The Q&A Archives: Growing Artichokes

Question: I have heard that artichokes grow well in the area I live in but I have never seen any growing. Is there a certain type of artichoke that will grow best here?

Answer: Artichokes grow best in regions providing long, warm summers. They can be grown as far north as Seattle, but are generally grown as annuals in areas north of Sacramento, California. Artichokes need a little winter chill to produce edible 'chokes, but will not tolerate excessively cold, or very wet winters. Choose 'Green Globe' or 'Imperial Star' varieties for your garden and plant them in a sunny site in rich, well-draining soil. If you'd like to try to overwinter your artichoke plants, cut the foliage down to about 8" in the autumn and cover with a protective mulch material during the winter months. Use a light material such as straw or leaves, and pile them high to protect the crowns of the plants. In the spring remove the mulch. If the winter weather wasn't extraordinarily cold or wet, new foliage should sprout. Second-year plants will produce sturdier stems and larger 'chokes.

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