Use of Available Raised Garden Space

charlieboringOctober 8, 2013

I have a raised bed that is about 12 inches high and shaped like a kidney (about 5 feet across and 18 feet long). In each end I have planted a goji berry bush. I have planted 6 artichoke plants down the middle of the bed between the goji bushes that I intend to overwinter by cutting them back to 12 inches and covering them with leaf mulch and a flower pot. When spring comes I want to use the SFG technique to plant the available space until the artichokes take it over. My initial thoughts are to plant radishes and lettuce. Any other suggestions?

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My good buddy Thomas Jefferson (haven't seen him in a long time, I wonder why?) grew artichokes as perenials in Virginia. What was good for Thomas is good for me! I am in Northern Virginia. I have a raised bed about 18 feet long and five feet across, shaped like a kidney. In the spring I filled the bed with a mixture of garden soil, straw, horse manure and topsoil. I germinated the globe artichoke seeds indoors and kept the six little plants under lights until May and planted them in my raised garden. My wife was trying to gain space for her zucchini and planted some zucs in the bed. The zucs shaded the artichokes too much and they did not grow well. Suffice to say that no buds were produced. After removal of the zucs, they started growing very well and are now about 2 feet tall. Now I need to prepare the artichokes for the winter. I intend to cut them back to about 10 inches after the first frost; add a four inch layer of topsoil around the plants; cover the plants with a layer of leaf compost; add a two inch layer of straw and cover the entire mix with a plastic tub and place a rock on top of it to keep it in place. In the spring (about April 20) I will remove the tub and spread the compost around the plants and add a little 20-20-20 fertilizer. Can anyone with Virginia artichoke experience offer any advice? Also, I would like to grow some type of greens, around the edges of the bed, that will mature early before the artichokes are large enough to interfere. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 12:20PM
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The raised bed with the artichokes has about a foot of space on each side of the artichokes to give you an idea of the space that will be available in the spring before the artichokes are so large they take over. I am considering head letuce that matures early, within 45-65 days, like Otima, Sangria, Black-seeded Simpson, or Green Ice. I will plant the seeds indoors around February 7 and transplant into the bed in mid April. They should be harvested in June. I will consider anything you suggest.

This post was edited by CharlieBoring on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 11:08

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:54AM
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I tried to overwinter six artichoke plants by covering the plants with leaves after the first frost and then convering the pile of leaves with a piece of plastic, a garbage can lid, two tubs, a 5 gallon bucket, and a large pot. I have six plants so one makeshift cover per plant. After such a cold winter in Northern Virginia, I was not very hopeful of a successful saving of the plants. I took the make shift covers off of the plants on three days ago and today I noticed one of the plants has started to sprout leaves. If all survive this will tell me how Thomas Jefferson must have raised artichokes in Northern Virginia. I will post pictures later when/if the plants grow.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 1:03PM
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slowjane CA/ Sunset 21

Wow six artichokes! I am jealous. Still trying to find a spot in our tiny yard for one - in Southern California, so I have no excuse not to right?

I love the Mesclun salad green mixes by Botanical Interests. Sassy Salad is a good one - and that way, you've got all different kinds of lettuces, mustards etc coming up and it makes for a pretty garden and pretty and tasty salad. Grows fast, can be used as baby lettuce or let mature. I ate off of a few feet of greens all winter and then finally let it bolt for the bees before heading to the compost.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:47PM
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