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Artichokes-post your updates

Posted by AiliDeSpain 6a (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 0:53

As you can tell I am super excited about growing artichokes this year. I thought I would start a thread where we can post our progress, pictures, and updates. Here is where I'm at:
Seeded Imperial Star on January 22
Started hardening off on March 6th
Planned plant out April 1 or earlier if I feel the weather is going to hold out.
My plants are huge. I had to start putting my seedlings on a rotation schedule because my artichokes are taking up so much space. I currently have nine plants. I am sure I won't plant them all but want to have back ups in case some don't make it.
I was wondering if my hardening off period counts toward vernalization? I am setting them out in 40-50 degree temps for hardening. Today they spent 2 hours in filtered sun. They did great!
Here is a pic of them outside...


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

We're on the same path. I started Imperial Star on Jan 12, and have potted them up twice. They have spent a couple of afternoons outside, but it's been too cold for much consistency.

With sunny weather ahead, a few days ago I moved these guys to larger pots. The photo shows the roots -- they were not as rootbound as I thought they might be. The seedlings now have 7 true leaves.

I'm not in a hurry to harden them off, but eager to get them chilling outside.


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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

Where do you live planatus?
I'm going to be checking my artichokes roots today to see if they need potting up. They are currently in three inch pots.


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I'm at a high elevation in SW VA, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I claim no expertise here -- it's my first time trying chokes in this location, but I'm hoping that the cool nights at 2700 feet will please them. When I tried growing artichokes in North Alabama (Z7), I could get them through winter, but they hated the warm, muggy summers and melted down from a root rot.


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Planatus, I think you should do well, I've gotten some here and I' more like 70 ft elevation and near the bay. I realize it is only March, but I am feeling fearful of whether I will get mine properly venralized since the weather is numping straight from the 30s up to the upper 50s-low 60s. I'll try to take a picture of mine later...


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Sunni have you planted out yet or are you vernalizing in pots?


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In pots. The weather is too unpredictable this time of year for me to just plant them... Could have a 10-day streak of freezing weather... Or like last year a hot spell.


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My chokes are in the ground beginning to grow..


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I hear you Sunni our weather is very unpredictable in spring. Sometimes we even get snow in April.


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I have trouble getting the pictures oriented right on here for some reason. But here's a shot of mine.

Sorry, was called away so hit post. Yup, that image posted sideways, oh well.

This post was edited by sunnibel7 on Sat, Mar 9, 13 at 14:30


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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

Just thought I would let you everyone know that I test planted one of my chokes out in the garden three days ago and it's still alive...lol
Temps have been daytime 40-50 degrees and nights 25-35...I put a cloche over them at night and remove it during the day. I will let you know how it progresses.
We are expecting temps in the 50-60 range for the next week with no freezing overnights so I may plant out a few more.
Excited!


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I left the babies out last night for the first time. They are in quart containers and protected in a plastic enclosure, but I was still happy to see it only went down to 42 overnight. I gave away my smallest two plants yesterday to someone who has an unheated greenhouse.

My soil is still way too cold to think about transplanting the artichokes, with lots of hard freezes and cold wind still ahead. I don't even put out kale under cloches until the end of March.


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Planatus-this is why I only planted one, to see what would happen. So far so good.


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Ah, I forgot mine overnight the night before last and I'm pretty sure one got slightly frozen. Either that or it is suddenly pouting for no good reason. Well, that one will cerainly think it has been through a winter, right? If it lives. More likely it will never catch up to the others after this setback. Good thing I have too many!

Anyhow, yes, it seems way too early to be planting them out 2 zones north of me. I use the weather info that tracks the average temperatures for the month to roughly gauge when to plant out, but use my sense of current conditions to actually plant out. For example, I'm holding off my pea and onion plantings a bit longer than usual this spring because it is just a bit cooler than average. Cheers!


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I had put a couple of mine in the cold frame, to try and start vernalizing, however, it was getting down to 20 tonight, and I don't know how much protection that cold frame actually affords when it is that cold and brought them inside.

But they did OK for the last couple days and we have been in the upper 20's at night, they looked great actually. Maybe the real sun?


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Yes the real sun seems to be really helping my chokes grow, We are in the 40's tonight for a low so I left my baby uncovered tonight :)


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I went on vacation for 8 days and left my seedlings in the care of my son who overwatered them. Most of them are dead as a result. I hope the remaining water logged plants recover and thrive.


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Sorry to hear that chervil. :(


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So today we hit 73 degrees. Surprisingly, the first artichoke I planted in the ground got sun damage and so did one of my seedlings in a pot. I didn't think that would happen with temps in the 70's but then again it was a drastic change for them since prior to today we were only in the 40-50 temp range.
I still have five chokes in pots, four in the ground and I gave one away to my daughter's teacher :)
Still holding onto my back ups in case something goes wrong with the four that are planted out...


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Aili, curious where you are that you are zone 5 but had 73° yesterday. I usually put my state with my zone so people have a rough idea where I am.

My hoop house is finished, but now I realize I really don't know how to use it best. I was thinking of putting my artichokes out there, but it became obvious that I had better do some research before putting anything out there. In the sun it is 26° warmer than outside, in cloud cover it is more like 10-15° warmer and at night it is the same as outside. If I fully vent it I can get it to be almost the same as outside. Somehow I don't think exposing them to wider temperature swings or the full freezing temperatures at night is what would be good for them now...


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Sunni, I am in zone 6a I keep trying change it in my profile but if i don't manually change it in my posts it reverts back to my old zone. Anyway it's southern central Utah...Spanish Fork to be exact. Extremes in weather are typical I guess.


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You know, I never set mine in my profile, I just always just enter it each time. Anyway, I see your weather is roughly the same as mine on average for the upcoming month, temperature-wise. Last year late spring frosts killed all my artichokes but one and I had put them out around this time. Granted last year I think their cold-hardiness was compromised by the extreme heat wave in February. But I guess I'm being extra careful to keep them away from freezing temperatures this spring! Keep your cloche handy until whenever your frost date passes! Cheers!


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Sunni-what variety did you plant last year that got taken out by frost? Was it a hard frost that killed them and were they covered when they got frosted?


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Aili- they were Tavor, an Imperial Star variant. They were not covered because frost was not predicted that night, but we started having a long string of nights where our lows went 8-10 degrees below predicted. I was one of many hit hard by that crazy spring last year.

I keep wondering aout that vernalization temperature and wonder if it could be achieved using night time temperatures, because around here it just is not likely to have a daytime high of 45 without a nighttime low near or below freezing. Heck, next Tuesday is a great example, 60 day time, 35 night time... So if I was to figure out the mean temperature for the day it would be 47... Would that be good enough for vernalization?


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Sunni-I have had my chokes out in 25 degree over night lows (under cloches) and they have survived. The vernalization is an accumulation of hours under 50 degrees so I believe the accumulation of hours under 50 degrees is what counts towards vernalization. I am thinking mine are definitely vernalized...even the ones in pots. That is why I wanted them planted out earlier to make sure I hit the 50 or so hours under 50 degrees.


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My seedlings have spent a lot of time outdoors this week, and when I bring them in because it's 35 or below I'm keeping them in an unheated room with the window cracked. Anyway, they are progressing nicely and show lots of little secondary foliar buds around the main stems.


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Aili- where did you find the information about it being 50 cumulative hours? I have been looking to find it stated more clearly in various places but no joy. If it's just 50 hours and night temps are part of the equation, then mine have more than vernalized, and likely will do some more once I truely put them out. Which is good by me.


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This is kind of buried in the Virginia Tech publication linked below, but I think it answers the question.

"In order to form buds, new artichoke plants require “vernalization” or “chilling.” This occurs just after planting, with seedling exposure to cool temperatures (eight to ten days or 190 to 240 hours of 50ºF or less) required for plants to initiate buds. Thus early spring planting is needed to meet this requirement. As a guideline, planting at, or a week or two ahead of the average last frost date for a particular region should provide time for adequate vernalization. Hot summer temperatures may reverse accumulated chilling hours, resulting in fewer plants producing buds. Newer cultivars seem more resistant to this “devernalization.”

Here is a link that might be useful: Va Tech on artichokes


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I mis typed when i said 50 hours. There seems to be conflicting info on how many hours are needed. It also depends on the variety,with newer varieties needing less vernalization time.


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It's getting down to 12 Monday night. I suppose i will take them out of the cold frames and into the garage, I don't have a real time way to monitor the temps except go out there and check, and I am not doing that at 5 am when it is the coldest.


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I guess it was the part about cummulative hours. It has never been clear to me whether allowing them to be above the 50 degree mark for some length of time is ok or detrimental. If it is cummulative hours, it implies that being above the temperature would be ok (probably to a certain extent, like being at 80 might be too much). But if it needed to be consecutive hours at 45-50 that's much more difficult. The first year I got chokes we had a long, cold spring, so despite my lack of clarity I was sure they had vernalized. Last year we had the spring with bipolar disorder, and it killed my chokes, so vernalization was moot.

Va Tech and I differ on the definition of "early Spring". :) This is early spring, when I plant peas and potatoes and onions... 1-2 weeks before last frost is mid spring. Anyhow, this is the year I've devoted my personal gardening time to be for the artichokes, so all this discussion is excellent.


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I believe it's cumulative as consistent temps 40-50 degrees without freezes would be difficult if not impossible. I covered my chokes tonight as its supposed to be 30 tonight. I always cover when temps are predicted to be below 32. In addition I still have my four back ups in pots :)


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I suppose that makes sense, it just seems weird to think of accumulating hours of certain temperatures. It must be a process that has some limitations. I mean if I stuck them in the fridge for an hour once a day for 190 days, would they be vernalized? I'm guessing not. Anyway, I suppose these are the things you learn to think about when growing perennial vegetables. Especially one we treat as an annual. The only other perennial veg I grow is asparagus, and it isn't one I'm trying to trick into thinking there's been a winter.

I'm having one of those days where my spelling looks wrong even though it is not. Perrenial.


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I think of vernalization as "to make like spring." So as long as we follow the general goal of making the artichoke seedlings feel like the cold has come and gone, the long days of summer will trigger a flowering response. Unless they are convinced, the flowering hormones won't flow.

My plants seem to be getting pretty convinced. When will this cold weather end?


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Ack, you've triggered my internal editor-geek! Would it be "to make ready for spring?", since winterization means to make ready for winter?

Sorry, boring rainy day, so much so that I finished my taxes. Apologies.


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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

Hey everyone..
Just wanted to post an update on my artichoke plants.
Over the weekend we got snow and a hard freeze. My artichokes survived the six inches of snow and temps down to 20 degrees, under cloches.
I must say though that their growth has slowed down significantly since I planted them out.
Temps are forecasted back up in the 60's for the next ten days...lets hope this last weekend was winter's last breath but I doubt it!
How is everyone else's chokes doing?


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Bumping since my post got buried over night!


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My five chosen ones are still hanging out in the upstairs bathroom, not growing much but this endless winter is getting to all of us. The 4 inches of snow outside may be reflecting extra light. All of the seedlings have little side shoots showing around their bases, which gives me great hope for the future prosperity of these plants. I plan to wait about three more weeks before setting them out.


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Yup, mine are just waiting, vernalizing. Past couple of years would have seen them planted out by now, but seeing as we got 3 inches of snow yesterday I'm going to keep holding off a little longer.


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Thanks for posting your updates Sunni and Planatus...
Here are some photos of my plants...

In the ground
 photo Artichoke232613.jpg
 photo artichoke32613.jpg

And my back ups in pots
 photo artichokebackups32613.jpg


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I forgot to mention that I have trimmed off some leaves from the ones in the ground that got sun damage and also the cotyledons on them died so I cut them off too. I can't wait to see some new growth on them!!!


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Those are looking awesome! My Artichokes are slowly getting bigger. I'm not supposed to transplant them until May apparently anyways. They can overwinter here also.


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They look very nice! I think our weather is finally thinking about breaking, so mine may get the ol' heave-ho out to the garden in a few days.


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Thanks guys...
I have a sad update...two of the four I planted out have passed on...
Not sure what caused it as the other two are doing just fine and have been in the same conditions.
I potted up my four back ups today too. I won't be replacing the two I lost for a couple of weeks, want to make sure no more extreme weather is on the horizon.


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Since you took the picture two days ago? That's fast! Take a picture of the dead ones, maybe we can shed some light?

Sorry for your loss. Glad you have your backups.

Edit: could your gooher have munched the roots? Voles here seem to find artichoke and cardoon roots quite tasty.

This post was edited by sunnibel7 on Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 17:04


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Sunni-I must admit the gopher did cross my mind since he has tunnels right under the garden which is why I'm so desperate to trap him...
The photos I posted a few days ago were of the survivors, the ones that I am presuming dead were not looking so hot when I took those pics.
Here is a pic of each plant that is looking dead
 photo deadartichoke2.jpg
 photo deadartichoke1.jpg


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Hmm, I know I've seen my artichokes look like that, just not sure if it was when something ate the roots or when they got too cold or when they got dumped ny the wind once (not that that happened to yours)... Maybe dig around the roots and see if you find a tunnel? My experience is that when they get that poorly, even if they do live they just never thrive again.


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My orange tree is scared of being eaten.


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Dicot-Holy S is that one plant?

Sunni-Going to poke around tomorrow with my gopher tunnel probe and see what's up. It seems like the only explanation at this point given the other two plants are as happy as can be....for now.


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It was when I planted it there (grown from seeds from a trade with a GW member) about 3 years ago, but now it seems to be at least 4 separate stalks coming off the old one. Here's what it looked like last April when fruiting, it was much more compact compared to the massive sprawl I have now.

I started feeding it compost tea regularly in Jan - no inorganic ferts have ever been used on it. - and I'll bet I'll get stalks almost 10' tall this year. I unabashedly love this plant, but it's still not allowed to eat my baby Valencia orange tree.


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Wow dicot, impressive. I am glad you explained the age of the plant, I was getting worried about my spacing.
So awesome that you can get artichokes as a perennial someday when I move to a warmer climate I can do the same.
Beautiful plant.


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Lovely, artichoke there, dicot! Tell your orange tree to toughen up. :) I bet if you check you'll find it is sprawling more because it has pupped. I know you can move those and make more artichokes, but I can't remember if it needs to be done now or after it goes dormant again. It isn't an issue I have with my artichokes, alas.


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Has anyone else planted out their chokes yet? My two survivors are doing great. The two that were damaged I dug up today and examined their roots. I didn't see any damage to the roots and nothing appeared to be wrong and little leaves at the center were still alive. However, to have strong healthy artichoke plants I decided to replace the two withered plants.


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I'm may be an overprotective parent, but I believe in preventing any type of avoidable stress to seedlings. The soil is still cold and even with 70 degree highs next week, there are cold winds and hard freezes ahead. So I'll hold my young uns in pots for at least two more weeks, then rig up a wind screen when I do set them out. They are almost ready for the garden, but the garden is not ready for them.


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I'm considering it in the coming week. Since I've noticed artichokes don't seem to "bounce back" well from any set back, I am waiting to be as sure as I can that the weather is good for them. Pretty sure I got them vernalized after all, so there is that. If your plants had no root damage then I would guess cold damage.


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I planted one in each of my cold frames, which I hope become dedicated to a perennial 'choke in each, last week. They look pretty good. We did have a night or two in the high teens, but with the lid of the cold frame closed they didn't seem to notice.

The broccoli I had stupidly already planted out in the garden is toast though. Good thing I started so many.


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Sunni-Did you plant out your babies yet? If so how are they doing?
Anyone else plant theirs?
My two replacements are doing just fine. I had to cover all of them a few nights ago because we got a cold snap with snow and below freezing temps. They seem to have fared just fine though. I still have two back ups in pots.
I can't wait for it to warm up more consistently so I can start seeing some growth.
I will take some pics later to post.


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Artichokes are perennial in my zone, and usually bear starting in their second summer. I just saw that mine, which I planted last spring, has two baby chokes!


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Mine are going to finally make it in the ground today. The trouble with waiting and waiting for spring to arrive is that when it does actually come everything needs to be done at once! All the restaurant crops are started or transplanted, so now a little time to focus on my personal ones is in order. Happy artichoking, everyone!


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omg I didn't realize they got that big. I'm a first timer for artichokes this year and have probably jumped the gun big time as I put them in the ground last week and we have a freeze warning in Pa tonight. Should I dig them up and bring them back in or cover?


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Mine have been through multiple freezes and survived. I cover them with cloches. I use small buckets for my covers. Just make sure to remove the covers the next day when temps go above freezing.


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I planted one artichoke in April 2010. I relocated it about a year later. Now, it's huge. It's about 4 feet tall. It has about 4 or 5 growth from the one I had planted.

To the left is a pomegranate tree and to the right is a young Fuji Apple tree. The two trees are about 12 feet apart.


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omg Avocado your artichoke plant is mammoth!!
Here is a photo of one of mine, it's finally starting to put on some growth, many of the younger leaves have died off and I have trimmed them. The unpredictable weather has certainly contributed to the lack of growth. I am hoping with warmer temps and milder nights these babies will start to put on some size.
How are everyone else's chokes? Sunni are yours doing okay?
Please post pics for comparison!!!
:)


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Sorry, went out to take a picture and thought "eh, not much to see here"... This extra cool spring means they don't seem to have put on any growth yet. I can hope they are making roots, right? They are alive, I can say that much. The only things that seem to like the weather we've been having are the lettuce and onions. Even the peas are real slow this year. I think next week everything will explode, if temps are as predicted. Cheers!


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Well, my 'chokes have been out in the garden and coldframes two weeks, they haven't done anything impressive yet.


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Thanks for the updates sunni and green. The photo I posted on May 1 is of my biggest choke. It has since doubled in size, I will have to post a photo tomorrow.


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I took this picture yesterday. The plants have been out for a month, and started showing new growth a week or so ago. They seem to like lots of rain! I planted the largest plant slightly high and it's holding its place as pick of the litter.


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Planatus, yours look fab. I'm jealous.


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Will try to post a photo of mine today

This post was edited by AiliDeSpain on Fri, May 10, 13 at 10:32


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Here is my biggest one. Also the first one I planted.


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Wow. I planted mine about 2 weeks ago and its just kind of sitting there with the older leaves falling off and the new ones growing, slowly...


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Thought I would post another above the plant photo of my artichokes.
The first photo is my biggest one, the second photo is the runner up... :)

 photo Artichoke51813.jpg
 photo Artichoke251813.jpg


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Looking good! Mine are pretty puny still, they just sulked through our cold spring. Seem to be taking off now, so I've got my fingers crossed. I don't know how big they will get before blooming is triggered.


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Sunni - in your prior experience growing artichokes when do they typically start to get buds?


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Oh lordy, not sure. I never wrote it down. For some reason I originally thought they would have chokes in the fall, but that was wrong. The only thing I could find in my notes was that I ate the flower stalk from my cardoons at June 4 last summer, but I'm pretty sure those bloom earlier than chokes. Around the solistice sometime?


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Hmmmm it seems they would have to put on some considerable size before blooming. Guess we will have to just wait and see.


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Haven't posted an update for awhile so i thought i would post a few pics. They are chugging along.


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Here's my runner up :)


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Nice! Mine are finally bulking up, but then a vole ate the largest one... I don't know if you ever watched Buffy, but all I know is "from beneath you, it devours". Haven't caught it in the trap yet, alas.


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That sucks Sunni!! You need to post a pic of yours, not the eaten one of course :)


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My first artichoke is forming! Squeel :)


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Two of my plants have little buds, too, which I discovered while harassing earwigs that had set up housekeeping in the plants' centers. Can't blame them, it's been raining a lot, so I put out the little pots for earwig hangouts. I also removed the lowest leaves, which seemed be be attracting a few whiteflies.

Today the earwigs are gone but they left behind a mess in the emerging leaves. The buds look okay, though.


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Planatus, nice looking plants....I despise earwigs. They are a problem every year here. This year they nearly destroyed my dahlias.


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Here is one of mine so far.


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Nice greenmulberry. I just noticed today that I have two small buds on either side of the main bud on one of my plants! Excited!


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Just wanted to share this photo of my biggest choke so far. I am super excited to harvest it and see what it tastes like!


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Your buds are bigger than mine, but I have three this size ready to cut today. All have smaller buds visible a few inches below the main ones. The ladybeetle is working on random sucking insects, which is good because the plants hated the soap I used a couple of weeks ago to set back whiteflies.


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Uh oh, maybe mine got too set back this spring. I have a few plants that are pretty large, but no buds yet. Yours are looking good, guys!


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Love it planatus...sunni sorry you don't have buds yet!!
I am getting ready to harvest my first choke. Planatus, do you usually harvest yours small?


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Virginia Tech says to harvest as soon as the bottom scales start to loosen, so I cut the primary buds from all five of my plants two days ago. There are a lot of very small buds coming on from the same terminal stems that produced the primary buds.


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Oh okay. Yours look so pretty. Do you think this one looks ready?


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Yes, I think it is.


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Thanks. I will harvest tonight and see how it tastes :)


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You guys are lucky! I will post a picture of mine as soon as I transplant them maybe tomorrow or the next day. They are much smaller, and I kept them in small pots a long time.


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Well I harvested that choke and steamed it up and shared it with my two year old baby girl and it was delicious. A little on the small side, but delectable all the same. Can't wait to harvest more! I currently have 9 more growing.


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Hmm, I think I will have my first one to harvest soon, it is smallish but the bottom most leaves are looking loose.

I had no idea I would get chokes before tomatoes!


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I have picked two so far.

They are kind of small, but the leaves are starting to separate on the bottom, when I picked them.


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I have harvested 7 off of four plants. Mine have also been smallish but leaves were also separating on the bottom. I think the plants are stressed due to the heat.


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Here are a couple I harvested today.


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In the field. . . I have a bunch of chokes but they start to open when they are pretty small, except for the first one on each plant.


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I think they are opening too small because of the heat. My plants are pretty much at a standstill. I dont know that I will grow them again next year. Our conditions are just not ideal for chokes. The space they take for what you get just isn't worth it. IMO.


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I just love the plants, and they look so cool even when they only have little chokes.

I am certainly going to plant them next year, my husband said he would love to grow them in the perrenial sun beds even, because he thinks they are so neat.

I do have PLENTY of room though, and I am always looking for more things to grow to take out lawn though.


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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

Long time since I have visited this thread. I have some questions for my experienced artichoke growers. My plants that seem to have went dormant during the hot summer months are now putting out new leaves. I know that there is probably not time for a second crop of chokes but I want to prepare to try and overwinter them for next year. I don't see myself starting them from seed again nor do I want to dig them, however I want to try and overwinter them in the ground eventhough I know the likely hood of them surviving in my zone is small.
So my questions are:
When do I cut them back?
How far do I cut them back?
Do you take off all of the leaves?
What is the best way to protect the roots from frost?
TIA!!!


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RE: Artichokes-post your updates

I think they are supposed to be 6 inches tall or something, and you are supposed to mound some leaves around them, but not right up the stem. I could be wrong though.


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