Bare Root Artichoke How-To

by Genevieve on April 14, 2011

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***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, 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

Thanks to everyone who entered! Giri, Rochelle, and Jennifer have each won. Congrats, ladies!

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Trisha April 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

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!


Karen April 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

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!


Anne April 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

My dad used to grow them. I’d like to try too!


Jackie DiGiovanni April 14, 2011 at 9:59 am

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


Julia April 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

Hmmm, wonder if artichokes will grow in Central Florida….


david April 14, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’ve always wanted to try growing artichokes- I hope I win!


Brad April 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

Would be a great experiment for my rooftop container gardening in Chicago. Never thought about trying artichokes!


heidi April 14, 2011 at 11:06 am

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 ;)


Jessica L. April 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

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?


Brian Cooper April 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

If I win I would like to try to grow some in our front flower beds.


Jenifer April 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm

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


Deanna Beeler April 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm

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.


Jennifer April 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I love artichokes! I bet the would look great in my Edible front yard! Good luck everyone! Peaceful Valley as the best products for growing!


Sarah Zwissler April 14, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I think artichokes would add some serious excitement to my garden!


rochelle April 15, 2011 at 3:57 am

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) .


Dr. Deer April 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

Mmm. We love artichokes! And Sluggo is the perfect solution to keep pesky slugs and snails away from your veggies. It is all natural and highly effective.


Deb Stenberg April 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

Redoing my beds this spring, would love to add some artichokes in the mix!


m April 15, 2011 at 7:32 am

We love artichokes!


Karen King April 15, 2011 at 8:38 am

My chickens do the same thing when I dig a hole in the garden. So fun!


Giri April 15, 2011 at 9:14 am

I have not tried growing Artichokes yet….and would LOVE to


Carrie Williamson April 15, 2011 at 10:13 am

Would love to try growing artichokes in Missouri!


Melissa April 15, 2011 at 10:35 am

Awesome giveaway! I’ve never grown artichokes, sounds like fun!


Kristin April 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

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).


dheckert (Scholar's Garden) April 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Artichokes would be so much fun to try in the allotment! I’ve never heard of bareroot, only seed, and I never thought I had enough growing time to get them to set from seed. Bareroot is definitely the way to try!


darlene lukaszewicz April 16, 2011 at 5:29 am

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?


Peggy Day April 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

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.


Betsy Bradford April 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Do you think I could grow them in Virginia?


Roberta April 17, 2011 at 11:30 am

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 !


Carri April 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm

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!


Jennifer Petritz April 19, 2011 at 6:54 am

one of my all time favorite foods! hope I win!


MSHDfred April 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Tried some from my local last year. Lots of mean-looking thistly leaves, never choked up. Sigh.


JulietH April 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

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!


Jeavona Chapman April 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

never grown artichokes. eat them from time to time. looks like fun.


Nicky April 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

Ooooh, I’m going to order some! Thornless artichokes!? YES!


vanessa April 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

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.


Cindy April 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

We love to expose our kids to different foods grown in our backyard. Never tried artichokes. It would be a fun addition!


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