I love artichokes!!!! I have a lot of Italian dishes I like to make that call for artichokes.I also like to steam them and dip the leaves in butter then scrape the “meat” off the leaves. The best is when you make it to the heart of the choke and dip that in the butter, YUM!
So when I planted my first garden at our new house several years ago, I of course planted some. I don’t know of any one else who grows them. They are not grown in our area because of the cold winters. So for the first couple of years I grew them like an annual. The problem was, that first year plants don’t get as big (maybe 18 inches tall and wide) and don’t produce as many artichokes (about 4 or 5 each). I wanted a lot since I marinate/bottle them and freeze them. I did some research online and found some articles where they said you could winterize the plants and about 40% of them would come back the next year. I decided to try it. I cut the leaves off the plant in the fall right before frost. I shoveled about 6 inches of dirt over the stumps then laid the leaves over the dirt. Then I put as many pine needles and leaves as I could gather over the artichoke leaves. Last of all I covered all that with plastic tarps and staked them down. It ended up being about a foot tall. This spring I had 15 of the 17 plants come back! And I harvested about 250 artichokes!!! The plants grew to about 3 1/2 feet tall.
If you want them in your garden, plant the seeds in small containers 4 months before you will be planting them outside. I use yogurt cups that I have poked holes in the bottom. Plant them three to four feet apart after ALL danger of frost has past. They need to be exposed to at least 10 days of night temperatures of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit in order to produce artichokes. If you have a plant that doesn’t produce the first year, that is probably why. For more information *click here.