In the fall, autumn for you brits, I splurged and bought 3 globe artichoke plants (var. purple globe) from Suttons (they were on sale). Matt and I had finally turned over the two beds on either side of the shed (ok it was mostly Matt while I planted spring bulbs) and there was lots of room now for some bigger plants to spread and grow.
I did a lot of research: spacing, soil type, sun, time to harvest aka. how long before I would be picking and eating delicious artichoke leaves dipped in hollandaise sauce (do you remember that Julia Childs recipe? It’s probably the main reason I chose to add artichokes to the garden.). I also spoke to some allotment neighbours who have big beautiful globe artichoke plants in their gardens and knew that they would do well in our area.
One of the biggest questions I had was whether it would become a delicious meal for any of our local critters. To maximise growing space on our allotment this year, we decided to expand to the area outside the fence. When the artichoke plants arrived, I thought I had my answer: NO WAY. These plants are spiny and prickly. I was positive they would survive in the open.
I now have 2 globe artichoke plants.
Growing Globe Artichokes (from RHS website):
- When to sow: March (seeds), Late Fall (plants).
- Sun: Full sun.
- Soil: not fussy, fertile and well draining.
- Spacing: 2- 3 feet apart (can grow 4 – 6 feet tall).
- Harvest: In their second year from late July before they open and flower.
- Over winter: Cut them back and mulch to protect the crown.
On cold fall evenings, even prickly plants are a welcome food source for wild animals. They will eat your artichoke plant roots and all! Plant an extra for the critters or keep them covered until well established; I did both.