Which Artichokes do you grow?

sunnibel7 Md 7(7)December 12, 2012

I know it isn't one of the more common crops, and also the forum is a little slow this time of year, but here goes anyway...

Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables, so despite everything I keep working on growing them each year and the past couple of summers I have managed to get a couple of little buds to enjoy. The cultivar is Tavor, from Southern Exposure, but I am almost out of seed so this is an opportunity for me to try a different type, if that's a good idea. So does anyone have a preferred type that they grow?

Also, for some reason I thought that artichokes were supposed to flower in late summer/early fall, but both years mine have set their buds in early-mid June. Am I wrong about when they blossom, or should I be doing something different? Cheers!

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I have Tavor. I'm adding Green Globe and some purple varieties this year. Tavor was very productive and quite good, for it's first year.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 7:12PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Tracy, when do yours set out buds? Also, do you have trouble with the small mammals having a hankering for their roots? Looking back over my notes, that seemed to be a major cause of plant decline in my garden.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:14AM
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I had no problem with small mammals. I had a bunny dig a hole next to the plant but it didn't seem to hurt it. This plant is out in my front yard and we have a huge bunny problem in our neighborhood. I can't grow much in the front yard because of bunnies. Just added a second artichoke next to the first! During the summer, it looked dead and I cut off the top, watered the roots every couple of weeks.
I think we started eating artichokes around mid-March to April. The plant is getting really big right now so should be earlier this year.
Was just about my favorite plant last year and even if we move to a colder climate, I plan to figure out how to grow artichokes. I was really surprised at what an easy plant they are!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:33PM
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landscraper82(4a - ND)

I have succesfully grown Imperial Star for 3 years now in North Dakota...and it does great. Of course, due to our climate they have to be treated as annuals.

Started early enough (maybe in another month,) I can expect to start eating fresh artichokes around June or at the latest early July! Can't wait ;)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 4:47AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

I haven't yet had an artichoke make it through the winter, so I start a handful each January. I've not found them easy, exactly, but the cardoons (close cousins) have naturalized just fine. Cardoons must just be tougher, because the voles like their roots too, but it doesn't seem to set the cardoons back much. Last year I thought more fertilizer early on would size the plants up before June. Maybe so, but we had the attack of the ants from hell, farming hordes of aphids on the roots of eveything... Goodbye artichokes of 2012. The taste of home grown artichokes is so good, though, I'll keep on trying until I am the artichoke master! Thanks for the input so far!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:02PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I have Green Globe and Imperial Star plants.
I prefer the imperial star in flavor and also because they don't have sharp leaf tips like the green globes do.

Like you Sunnibel, I have issues with voles eating the roots in the cooler months and also aphids during the summer.
Many of my plants don't make it through the winter due to the voles, so I replant about half of them every year (I have about 40 plants). The newer plants don't flower till late summer/fall, but the overwintering plants start in mid spring. I've read that if stressed, young plants will flower earlier.
I really like having the different flowering times as this year I got to eat artichokes from spring, all the way till last week! The multi-year plants make larger buds but the spring planted ones are great too.

I hope this helps a little. I love growing and eating artichokes but they sure are tricky.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 2:24PM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Madroneb, thanks, every little bit helps. :) Are your newer plants subjected to vernalization (exposed to cold in the spring)? Because my plants are, but they still bloom before midsummer, and they aren't all that large yet. Granted, we' at pretty different lattitudes. I'm thinking of having many more plants this year, but maybe not quite 40 of them. I think you and John Hughes are vying for the title of "Artichoke King"! :)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I've read about vernalization but never really worried about it. I start the seeds mid February in the greenhouse (unheated) on heat mats, then grow them without heat till transplanting. It's still gets plenty cold out there while they're growing so i'm sure they get vernalized enough.
I wouldn't want the new plants to flower any earlier as we have such late springs here, they don't really kick into fast growth mode till summer. However, the overwintered plants are huge by late spring.

As far as the title, I'm pretty sure I fall way short of deserving it. 40 plants in great soil may produce a ton of chokes, but at my place it's just enough to feed the fam and have a small basket to sell with the produce I grow for the farmers market. I really like them because the deer don't eat the plants so they get put here and there for ornamental sake as well as food. If only I could get rid of the voles........

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I set mine out in fall but we have very mild winters.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:09PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Again, as with thte Brussel sprouts, ants and aphids!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:15PM
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