Growing Artichokes in Virginia
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?