Bare Root Artichoke How-To

***Giveaway below! Comment to win one of three sets of bare root artichokes from Peaceful Valley*** Giveaway ended – congrats to the winners! Planting bare root artichokes is like planting bulbs. You know in your head that some miracle or magic is going to occur to turn this tiny lumpen thing into something somewhat more impressive. But in your heart, you don’t really believe it until they actually come up and do their thing. When you get your bare root artichokes (I got mine from Peaceful Valley at groworganic.com), they are small, hard clumps of brown with a tiny bit of root fluffing out from it. But in one of the great mysteries of life, they grow, make huge swathes of gorgeous silvery foliage, and then make everyone happy by producing a delicious vegetable that can be eaten with hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise. They’re easily my favorite vegetable, and I’m sure that’s not just the hollandaise talking. In my mild coastal climate (Zone 9) they’re evergreen perennials, but even in colder areas (where you treat them as annuals) you can get quite a few dinners out of your first-year artichokes. Because they’re such an architectural, interesting plant, I use them within my normal garden beds, where they mingle beautifully with the other silvers and blues and create a bold foil to plants with purple foliage. So, when you order a bare root artichoke, you want to either plant it, or “heel it in” as soon as possible, definitely within a week. If it’s too cold out to plant or you just don’t have time, I just pop some soil into a bucket and “plant” them temporarily until I can get out to give them their proper home. In the ground, they’ll go about 6-8 inches deep, and you’ll want to give them plenty of room to spread out. Peaceful Valley suggests putting them 6 feet apart for best photosynthesis and yield, but I like to crowd them a bit more so that they make a huge broad section of continuous silver in my garden. They prefer full fun except in areas where it gets over 85 degrees, in which case they like a bit of protective shade – they won’t make artichokes if it’s too-too hot. Mine aren’t bothered much by pests, except for the occasional roving gophers (who pretty much like to eat everything else in my garden, edible or ornamental, as well), and snails and slugs, which pester the foliage rarely but will try to get at your artichokes. I recommend a bit of Sluggo, an organic snail bait, as they start to set buds. You ready to try some artichokes of your own? Peaceful Valley was incredibly generous in offering no fewer than THREE sets of two artichokes to win! Yes, three of you lucky ducks will be eating some homegrown organic artichokes this summer. We’ve chosen Organic ‘Emerald Star’ as the variety to give away, because it’s got a rich buttery flavor, large heart, and NO THORNS!! I am so looking forward to mine coming up, because I’d gotten a thorny version in the past and have stabbed myself numerous times when harvesting the little beasts. So this ‘Emerald Star’ is a real winner in my view.

Just leave a comment below to win one of three sets of ‘Emerald Star’ artichokes. Thanks, Peaceful Valley!

(And don’t forget to enter to win a set of three bare root blueberries from Peaceful Valley as well.)  
Small print: US only except Hawaii, contest ends April 21, I’ll draw a winner randomly using random.org.
Thanks to everyone who entered! Giri, Rochelle, and Jennifer have each won. Congrats, ladies!

Comments

  1. says

    I grew up with artichokes in my yard in california but since I moved to Oregon I have not yet started my artichoke patch – though I do have a cardoon! They would look great together. Thanks as always for the tips. Cheers!

  2. Karen says

    Artichokes are a little daunting to me–I grew them once before in the Bay Area and always envied the beautiful prolific ones I saw growing up neglected in other people’s parking strips while mine got aphids and keeled over. Your tips are really useful, and I do love how they look (and taste.) Thank you for the opportunity–and thanks to Peaceful Valley for the chance to win!

  3. Jackie DiGiovanni says

    How fun to grow artichokes in SE Michigan. I look forward to trying. This is a great contest!

  4. heidi says

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been talking with my guy about what to plant in what will be my very first (real!) garden… I LOVE artichokes, but for some reason always figured they’d be hard to grow (maybe because they’re so damn expensive to buy? lol). Now I’m thinking it might be time to give it a try ;)

  5. Jessica L. says

    Awesome giveaway. Have been wanting to try to grow artichokes for awhile now. Wondering if I could grow them in a container, and bring them indoors over winter?

  6. Jenifer says

    Apparently artichokes grow great in Humboldt county, I just moved here and would love to try something new!

  7. Deanna Beeler says

    I planted some alongside my tack room at Redwood Acres. They did wonderfully. I finally got tired of other people picking the artichokes and dug ‘em up & took ‘em home. They survived the first year but produced no ‘chokes, then they died. Didn’t know you could kill one.

  8. says

    oh– pick me pick me (hand waving wildly in the air) I would love to try out artichokes….I have never grown them before…I wonder if my wily woodchuck nemesis would avoid them…..and I’m passing on the blueberry giveaway, because I already have waaaaayy too many of them (if that is possible) .

  9. Kristin says

    Would love to grow artichokes. I love them and my kids are fascinated by foods they can watch grow, pick, and eat (some cooking necessary).

  10. darlene lukaszewicz says

    I am also a big fan of artichokes. I live in Merritt Island, fl. where is does get hot. I had several plants in pots 2 years ago but they just withered and died. I am now trying the earthbox design (my husband and I made our own-for less than half the price of the commercially advertised one). Everything I have planted so far is doing exceptional. I am now willing to give artichokes a try. I have not heard of bareroot artichoke plants but with this design I can see how they might work really well. The box is moveable so shade would be possible during really hot spells. Plus they will never lack for water but will not get drowned out. What does anyone think?

  11. says

    Don’t need the artichoke as I have three growing with vigor in my garden. (havested five buds just this week) I do LOVE the chicken finding breakfast while you were planting! Very funny.

  12. Roberta says

    Might of choked Artie! But it won’t choke me! Oh! I so love artichokes and I pay big
    time for the “addiction” to those yummy globes of pleasure with the nutty hearts which
    I dip in butter! Delish :) I couldn’t imagine anything more awesome than to be able to
    grow my own and ‘cut out’ the dealer ah’ I mean the market that jacks -up the price sky
    high :( Yeh, that’s the ticket!
    Thanks Gen & thanks to Peaceful Valley !

  13. says

    Artichokes are beautiful plants- I grow mine in my front yard and I always have people asking me what they are! I’m amazed at how many people have NO idea what kind of plant an artichoke comes from! They are beautiful when they bloom!

  14. says

    Had not heard that artichokes come in bare root! You can tell that people are starting to plant these more, as I’m seeing artichokes show up all over the place here in the Sacramento area. I planted one earlier this spring – can’t wait to see it get big and produce!

  15. vanessa says

    I hope I’m not too late for entry. Just seen this .. hope I can havea chance. Even if I get one. Lol. I’m a begining gardener. Doing well ech yr n growing and expanding.

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