31 August 2014

Globe artichokes in the autumn

When I started this blog back in April of this year, my very first post was about my attempts to grow globe artichokes. I thought I would post a brief update about what the artichoke plants have been doing; not least as I have found it difficult to find much information about what the growing habits of globe artichokes are in the UK. I would be interested to hear from anyone else who grows globe artichokes to see if their experiences are similar to mine.

We had two plants that produced about seven or eight artichokes, which we picked through May and June. We had great fun cooking these, including stuffed, in risotto and with pasta. By about the end of June, the leaves of the plants started to die off. I took an executive decision to trim the dead leaves back, after which I applied a mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the plants. After a few weeks, I noticed new growth appearing from ground, next to the old stems. With one plant, several clumps of new growth appeared, and I have dug up one of these and put it in a pot to see whether I can propagate it as a separate plant. This week I was excited to see three small globe artichokes emerging from one of these new clumps of growth, meaning an unexpected autumn harvest of artichokes.

Globe artichoke plants aren't fully frost hardy, and the root stock requires some protection overwinter. Traditionally in the UK, this is done by packing straw round the base of the plants, and then weighting this down with a little soil or well-rotted manure. The leaves and stems can be left poking out of the top. Not having a ready supply of straw, I have used bark chips and leaf mould to good effect. In the spring the protection can be removed, and hopefully the artichoke plant will start putting on new growth.

No comments:

Post a Comment