|If you've never considered growing artichokes in your northern garden, why not try some this year? Just remember that they need lots of room ( 9 square feet for each plant) and plan on a long row, if you want to have enough for a meal or two.|
As the year comes to an end, and the seed catalogs begin to arrive in stacks, the summer vegetable garden can seem months away ( oh, right - it IS months away!), but there are some plants which need to be started in early January, which may help you overcome your winter blues. Sure, the Winter Solstice just occurred a week ago, but nature doesn't rest, and some plants need time to grow - pansies ( viola species and hybrids), geraniums ( the hybrid pelargoniums we all know as 'florist geraniums' need to be sown under lights by the New Year if one wants flowers in spring), and artichokes. Yes, artichokes. They can be grown here in the north, but prepare yourself, it will take some work, and now is the time to begin. Here is how I grew my globe artichokes last summer from seeds that I sowed the first week of January.
|Artichokes have deep roots, so I use Root Trainers, a folding device not unlike a book, which allows one to raise tap-rooted plants and deep-rooted plants like Sweet Peas and artichokes and transplant them with little root disturbance.|
|By April, the seedlings are ready for 6 inch pots.|
|Some plants were saved for the parterre, as the foliage is ornamental and completed the very Provencial-look I was going for with rosemary, lavender and lemons in front of the greenhouse.|
|Side buds will also form, and can be used as 'baby artichokes'. but I rarely bother with these. The stems on home-grown artichokes are tender too, so plan on picking longer stems to steam. Just peel, to remove the strings, and steam.|
|Full Size artichokes from a New England garden from artichokes plants grown as an annual.|