The Q&A Archives: Artichokes Do Not Bud

Question: After having a successful crop of artichokes (Imperial Star)in 1996, my 1997 crop was a disappointment. The plants started off looking lush and green, slowed down during the heat of summer, but grew lush and full again during our long, mild fall. They finally froze in late November - out of 10 plants, I didn't harvest a single artichoke. I started them in my greenhouse in mid-February, set them out mid-April, watered regularly and topdressed with well-rotted manure and compost. Suggestions for how toget artichokes next time?<br><br><br>

Answer: It sounds like you've done everything correctly, but maybe the plants were lacking phosphorus, which is essential for bud production. Phosphorus is the nutrient that has the least mobility in the soil, so it's sometimes hard to keep enough available for plant uptake. I recommend that you mulch with straw and continue to water well during the heat of summer. Feed plants every two weeks with compost/manure tea, fish emulsion or foliar feed with seaweed fertilizer. This should turn things around. Ifyou want to know for sure what nutrients may be lacking, contact your extension service (ph# 314/528-4613) for soil test info. Here's to a bumper crop in '98!

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