Thursday, February 6, 2014

Turn on the Lights - Starting Artichoke Plants from Seed

This past weekend, I assembled my seed starting shelves in our heated barn/garage.  It's been almost two years since these lights were last turned on.  It have to admit, it seemed somewhat of a milestone - a reminder that we have now settled in our long-term home.  The space can use some sprucing up, but all in all, I'm happy with it.  The heat fan on the upper left-hand corner of this photo keeps the room at a consistent 60 degree F (balmy by New England standards) and the air circulating (an absolute necessity when starting seeds indoors).  There is also a sink on the opposite side of the room, which makes watering and cleaning rather convenient. 

The barn has to be my favorite space on our property.  On the second floor is a fully renovated loft space with a vaulted ceiling, wide pine floors, nice bathroom, kitchenette and gas fireplace/stove.  Our guests seem to love it, and to be honest, I wish we could spend more time there.  I'll have to post some pictures soon. 

Like in years past, my artichokes are the first plants to make it to the shelves.  I have nine this year, which is probably more than I need.  I'd like to exercise some restraint and let a few buds mature into flowers this year, which can make for a rather dramatic sight in the vegetable garden.

Artichoke seeds can be rather temperamental to germinate.  I like to soak them in water overnight and then sprout them in between damp sheets of paper towel within a ziplock bag.  I've always had great results starting them this way and germination this time around was about 90%. 

5 comments:

  1. You're off to a good start! I think you've got your gardening mojo back. It makes a big difference when you've got a home that you can really settle into. Happy sowing!

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  2. Thanks Michelle! I feel like I'm back now. :)

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  3. I always love putting in the first seeds of the year. And I can't wait to see photos of the barn.

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  4. Good luck with the artichokes. I'm thinking that is the only vegetable I have never grown.

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  5. Your new home sounds lovely Thomas. Nosey people (like me and Granny) would love to see some photos! I envy your artichoke growing success. I tried to grow them for 3 years straight and had no success with them producing. I'll be sowing my first seeds next weekend!

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