***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!