Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
December, 2000
Regional Report

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Artichokes are delicious and can be grown as a perennial in your garden with a little care.

Planting Perennial Vegetables

Most people think of vegetables as annuals, but some vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, and rhubarb are great perennial plants that will produce for years to come. They should be planted now in our area.

Planting Asparagus

Asparagus will grow and produce satisfactorily in a part-shade areas such as next to a fence or a building, especially if the plants receive morning sun. However, they' grow and produce best if given as much sun as possible.

Choose a new area rather than replanting an old asparagus bed with new roots. In an old bed, residues from the old plants will retard the growth of the new young ones. The old bed may have also accumulated fungal pathogens and tough perennial weeds. Dig into the bed compost and manure, dig a one foot deep trench and set roots at least 6 inches deep and 1 foot apart. Cover the crowns with a fluffy mix of soil, manure, or other organic mulch as they grow until you fill the trench. Water well. For established beds, apply manure to the depth of 1 to 2 inches to slowly feed the plant as rain and overhead irrigation wash the nutrients down into the root zone.

Artichokes Anyone

Until now, great artichokes were limited to the moist fog belt of the Monterey Pennisula area. Newer varieties more tolerant of hotter weather allow many other gardeners to grow these great perennials. 'Imperial Star' is a recent artichoke cultivar developed for annual in the Imperial Valley - which is much hotter yearround than we are. So it should grow well for us too.

Dig manure into sandy soil in a full sun location and set artichoke roots with buds or shoots just above the soil line, spaced 6 inches apart. Water them well. When new growth emerges, deeply soak the area with water once a week.

Growing Rhubarb

Rhubarb prefers partial shade. Plant the rhizome at the soil line. The wide spread of the rhubarb leaves requires a 4 foot spacing between plants. Water deeply once new growth begins.

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