Does our climate here in CO allow for growing Artichokes??? If so, what is the right time to get them in the ground?
You treat them as an annual here.
Look for "Imperial Star" artichoke seeds, and start them in January. You want to set them out about the first week of May so they get really cold, maybe a light frost or so, and plant them in a bed with a lot of organic matter, about 3 feet apart. They are aphid magnets, and need to be sprayed every few weeks with soapy water. You'll get 5-10 heads per plant.
If you can manage to over winter them, then things really take off the next year. I managed inadvertently by dumping a few feet of leaves/grass clippings on one plant, and it survived the winter, and came roaring back the next spring. That plant has produced at least 20 heads.
A fresh artichoke straight from the garden is a culinary wonder. They sure are a pain to grow.
I have 20 odd plants and we have more than we can eat. Although we try. They are popular at the market, but nobody is going to pay very much for them because they are smaller, and nobody in their right mind is going to pay what they charge in the stores. I can sell all I bring at 50Â¢ a piece. At $1, no takers. I don't blame them, either.
I will try to over-winter them once again, and if successful, so be it. I'm still undecided if I'll buy seeds again maybe let me try that recipe I heard the other day where they steam them, pick off the tough leaves, then cut in half and sprinkle with olive oil and grated parmesan, then broil .....
Ah, yes, I'm caught by my shorthand again. Much better is 'more often than not they die and are treated as an annual'.
David, what did you think you did that made them overwinter successfully? Do you think it was the sheer depth of the mulch or the few days of cold?
Dan, I've talked to some other folks who have tried to over-winter them with wire baskets of mulch on top, and that didn't work. We didn't get all that cold this last winter, the big problem we face is everything dries out. So I think it more a question of the mulch keeping the soil moist enough, as well as insulating.
Or, just dumb luck. :)
They are one of my favorite veggies, David, and I'd love to have the space and climate to grow them here. I see very few make it here and all the MGs and gardeners we know don't count on them. Maybe I'll send them on a fact-finding trip ;o)