On small garden gifts

P1000391Tiny but good:  Year 3 of a home-grown seedling

“Mama, looook!  Here’s one that’s ready!”

Other than the beans, the squash, the potatoes, the cucumbers, the tomatoes/peppers/eggplants that populate the harvest baskets at this time of year, it’s quite fun to have something that is special.

Would that I lived in an area where I could get rootstock for artichokes!  Now THERE would be some tasty plants.  As it is, the globe artichokes grown from seed are tasty, but not the same.  Just don’t tell my daughter because she thinks they’re wonderful as they are.

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11 responses to “On small garden gifts

  1. That looks amazing! Are they difficult to grow? How incredible to be be able to harvest an artichoke from one’s own garden…

  2. Good you posted on artichoke. I bought a little plant and guess where from ….Walmart : )!!! Well, it is doing well so far…but I am guessing no ‘fruit’ this year then? Its like asparagus? Wait couple of years? I remember seeing them growing in a friend’s vege patch in South of France and remember the view of how they must love the sun and the sandy soil.

    How do you cook it? I grill it and serve with olive tapanade.

  3. When I see a plant I have to grow it! I’ve had artichokes growing for two years and this year we actually got enough to serve with dinner a couple of times…

    I don’t know what you mean by artichoke rootstock….I purchased mine as starts at the nursery and started some violettas from seed this year. I’ve never seen them offered as rootstock….

    I am going to plant even more this fall. Artichokes need to go through winter in order to produce…..but their idea of winter is apparently a California one!

  4. Hi guys: Petunia, you brought up the best point: California, not Michigan!! Artichokes are perennials that, on artichoke farms, are propagated by division, selecting the best-producing plant to get new plants from. Seed-grown chokes don’t have the best properties (big chokes, tastiness, abundance): like many plants, they don’t necessarily come “true” from seed. The ones I grow (Green Globe) have been tricked into blooming on their first year, as they are half-hearty perennials in my climate so a second-year plant is an iffy prospect at best. I hill them mightily with mulch and dirt every fall and still generally have a loss or two each year, so I keep growing them from seed. So WF, yeah, you can grow them and they should produce their first year, but there might be flaming hoops you need to jump through to get them to their second. I am shocked this thing is in its third year.

  5. Do *NOT* tell my wife that artichokes can be grown that far north. I would have to plant the entire yard with them.

  6. I’m so glad you posted this because there is an idiot in Vermont trying the same thing, (flying blind)…I’ve got them in my little hoophouse. If one of them makes it through this winter I’ll choke!

  7. I love artichokes, but when I used to grow them I never ate any because the flowers are so gorgeous and long lasting, they were worth more to me as flowers than as food. I had two plants that lived more than ten years and gave me about four chokes apiece every year.

  8. Yes, artichokes are something I’m very glad we sprang for. In fact, we might have to tuck a few more plants in here and there. We love them fried in garlic, steamed and dipped . . . just many ways.

    Good for you for managing them.

  9. Oh El, I just love you and your blog!

  10. I love artichokes, but no one in my extended family does, and here in CT, its not exactly a conducive climate for it… though it appears it *is* possible with all the work you put in! I wish I could, but I don’t have the equipment for it… I can still be wistful reading your post though 🙂

  11. Sparow, they’re not hard to grow, they’re hard to keep alive! While that sounds contradictory, it’s still pretty true…

    WF, they do love sun and hot weather, sandy soil they can take or leave. They will bloom for you in the first year, but it’s the older plants that really go crazy, older meaning they never get a frost and they get a chance to keep growing. Mine never get big because they die back to the ground every year.

    Petunia, maybe you can make a trip over to San Luis Obispo and points north of there: crazy with artichoke farms it is thataway.

    JCC, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing: the plants are quite beautiful on their own and then the flowers are pretty amazing too.

    Randi, I am quite convinced that we do so much as gardeners “because we can,” not “because we should.”

    Aimee, that’s lovely! You reminded me of the time, when we first moved here, that I went to the grocery store (Meijer for you Midwesterners) near us and picked up a bag of small chokes. An older lady stopped me and asked me how I liked them, and then proceeded to pull a picture out of her handbag of her granddaughter (she looked to be in her 20s) standing in front of her own artichoke plants in Phoenix. The things were 7′ tall, and just COVERED in small chokes! We both agreed the plant was gorgeous. And she was so proud.

    Stef, straight out of college I spent a lot of time in Calabria and Sicily and we ate SO many artichokes sauteed in so much olive oil I am amazed I still like them. (“Love them” is more like it.) So I am envious: get more plants!

    Aw, thanks, Petunia.

    MC, yeah, sometimes it’s better just to let go and import! And maybe more successful if you buy the things too….

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