Thursday, August 2, 2012

How the artichoke grows

This is the first artichoke harvested from my garden this year. It is in very good shape; so is the plant that it came from.

Whenever I slap a picture of an artichoke plant on my Facebook page, the Like button gets a pretty good workout. It's not your typical plant for a home garden, and so most of us don't get a chance to see it grow.

These next few pictures were taken in my garden here in Maine. I hope you enjoy watching the artichokes grow as much as I do.

I used to start from seed (in the dead of winter and using heated grow boxes that I built myself) but never had the slightest bit of luck doing that. And so I switched to buying plants from local farmers and getting them in the ground sometime in May.

It usually takes until midsummer for the first artichoke to appear. I always get a big kick out this.

Once the artichoke appears it tends to grow rather quickly. It's always a single artichoke that pushes out first, and in a straight-up direction.

Once the first artichoke is established, others follow. You can see here, underneath and to the left of the larger artichoke, that another one has started pushing out as well, just at an angle.

And so it goes. New artichokes, on new stalks, growing until the plant winds things up in late summer or early fall.

You never know how many artichokes a plant will produce. Some that I've grown have pushed out around 10, others only a half dozen.

To me, the best thing about growing your own artichokes is being able to harvest the entire stalk. The stalks are normally removed when sold commercially, but they can be just as good to eat as the heart.

Well, that about does it, I guess. See you next week.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh I am so envious. How I wish there were local farmers here with artichoke seedlings I could buy.

jerseypaulie said...

I buy marinated artichoke hearts at a local Italian deli that come with a 4-6 inch stalk attached and you're right, they taste as good as the heart. Didn't realize they would grow in Maine. Yours look great.

Proud Italian Cook said...

We're trying to grow them for the first time here in chicago.
No sign of a flower shoot yet but the plant is nice and green!

Wendy said...

That's a thing of beauty! Maybe I'll try artichokes next season...not much of a growing season in high desert, Reno, Nevada! I enjoy your blog!