3rd try with Artichokes in z5. Any pointers?

organicburroFebruary 8, 2007

I've given up on following instructions in Johnny's catalog. I'm planning to try Eliott Coleman's instuctions in his winter gardening book. I read most of the threads here on GW, and haven't seen any major successes here in the North. Nonetheless, Eliott grows them in Maine, so it's worth another try, so I'll sow them this weekend. I'd love any pointers from anyone out there. Variety -- Imperial Star. Thanks in advance for any advice you've got!

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It's presently 6 degrees F in zone 5. Anything you sow next week in this zone is dead on arrival.

Artichokes don't grow well here because they don't like cold or intense light. They need about 100 days of perfect conditions for choice produce.

Good luck starting them in February in the cold zone 5.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 11:16PM
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Imperial Star was developed to grow as an annual, so you've got the right variety. But they still need some chilling before producing. In NW Washington I'd start them in Feb inside the barn under light. I'd transplant them to a 6" pot when they were a few inches tall. Then when the days weren't freezing I'd leave them out. When the nights weren't freezing then they'd just be left outside all the time. It's a bit of a balancing act. I'd get them in the ground around april 1. Light frosts don't hurt them at that point. But they are cool summer plants that do best in maritime areas. Our summers usually have highs in the upper 60's. If you have hot summers I don't know if they'll do well. But hope you get them that far to find out. Tom

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:27AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Growing artichokes in the North is a challenge. It can be done, but it's an uphill fight.

One of the few tips I can provide, other than starting early as you are doing, is to plant much more seed than you expect to need. The plants vary greatly in vigor. Many will not be worth keeping.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:55PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I succeeded with growing artichokes last year in zone 5 and it is well worth the trouble. The taste of this fresh, garden harvested vegetable is delicious and the plants are gorgeous. I sourced my seeds from Italy and grew Artichoke Carciofa violetto pugliese sel. Francesino seeds starting inside 1/24/06. I transplanted the seedlings outside 3/24/06 and harvested in mid-July.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 9:24PM
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ninjabut(USDA z 8,CA)

I think I grew the wrong type of Artichokes. I grew the round type that didn't produce alot of "meat"
I also got alot of ants! This is why I pulled them up!
I might try again if I get the right plants. Nancy

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:18PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

How did you deal with early spring frosts, Chervil2?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 6:18PM
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Thanks for all the input! Justaguy, I am sowing my seeds indoors. I sow all vegetables indoors under shop lights I've got set up in former tack room in my barn, complete with heating mats and mylar on all walls to reflect back light. So I can germinate the chokelets at 70-ish degrees, then do the chilling thing for a few weeks, then set them out when it's just warm enough. That's what Mr. Coleman does to get them to grow in Maine.

Skagit man, we get a few days over 90 some summers. Should I use shade cloth over them or grow them behind bean teepees for shade? How tall do they get?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 5:17AM
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Nancy, your articoke variety may have been OK but aphids sucked out their vigor. The reason you have ants on the chokes is that they're "milking" the aphids. Those small buggers can sure stop a choke from growing well. Keep and eye out for aphids and blast them off with a hose. Tom

    Bookmark   February 15, 2007 at 10:17AM
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I haven't tried artichokes yet, but last summer was my second attempt to grow Cardoon (same species as artichoke, but selected for the stems and leaf ribs). The first year my plants died. Last year we actually harvested some stems, but I hadn't done a good enough job blanching them and they were still a bit bitter.

Like your artichokes, I started my cadoon in February and even set them out early for some chilling, even though I wasn't looking for flower bud production. The variety I grew is supposed to be hardy to zone 6, maybe zone 5 with heavy mulch, so I *may* have some survivors this spring. I'll start some new plants this weekend anyway, just in case.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Catherine, how do you like to eat cardoons? Why are they worth the trouble?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 10:59PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I read that artichokes can survive the 20s and so I did not worry about frosts when I transplanted the young seedlings outside in the early spring. I confirmed that that the seedlings could survive since my climate has many frosts in early spring. Typically, my last frost is in mid-May. I sited the plants on the south side of my house where it is more sunny and warm compared to other garden areas in my yard.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 8:32PM
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Organicburro, I noticed some really fine looking and heavily bearing artichokes growing last summer in a community garden right near I-94 in St. Paul, so decided to try them myself this year. I just sowed the seeds (imperial star) today (17 Mar 07); that may be too late. But what the heck, worth a try. I've benefited from the responses to your post; perhaps there will be some more. And let us know how your efforts turned out. I'll do the same. GaryStPaul

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 5:49PM
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At Peters Seed & Research they offer 2 types of artichoke seeds that are cold tolerant. Emerald (170 days) and Northern Star (300 days). Northern Star was specifically bred to over-winter in northern locations but is offered for trial only.

I tried Imperial Star last year but nothing happened. I brought some of the plants inside in the fall and put them in the "back room". It was cool but not that cold. They died. I read that they are not cold tolerant.

I am trying both Emerald and Northern Star this year. They were hard to germinate but I got ample seed packets from Peter's Seed. The link is below if you want to check it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Peters Seed & Research

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 7:34PM
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How's it going organicburro?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 11:49AM
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I start the seeds in mid-February. Imperial Star, Emerald and Green Globe have all worked for me. I start indoors and then place either outside or in the garage during the daytime on days when it is above 36 outside. Yeah, I bring 'em in and out and in and out and it's a pain, but it's worth it. They taste a lot better than store bought. Plus, in Zone 6, if you plant on southern exposure and mulch (cut 'em back, put tomato cage full of leaves over them) over the winter, you'll get even better production the next year. Just be sure to remove the mulch about the same time you would plant peas, or the plants will rot. They may also be divided, as they do send out side shoots. As for the bugs, well, I'm not really a green freak and just use the pesticides. Mine attract earwigs, not ants, and I HATE EARWIGS!!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 3:47AM
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Here's my progress in staten island, ny

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 8:45PM
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