Tuesday, June 24, 2014
At Opposite Ends - Artichokes and Zucchini
Every year, I debate whether or not to grow them. Generally artichokes only start producing buds in their second year, but can easily be coaxed to flower in their first year if started early enough indoors and then exposed to cool temperatures for a minimum of 6 weeks. Most of my neighbors were astounded to learn that you could even grow artichokes here in New England. You can indeed. Unfortunately, they will never become the majestic plants you'd see in say the fields of California. When I visited the vegetable gardens at Colonial Williamsburg a few years back, I was amazed by how tall the green globe artichoke plants were and how each plant had at least a half-dozen flower stalks - something I can only dream about in my own garden. I've never been able to overwinter my artichoke plants successfully here in our Zone 6A climate. And at best, I'll get between 1 to 3 decent sized artichokes from each plant - not a very good return for the effort involved. Still, they are strikingly beautiful plants that can add a great deal of interest and impact to both an edible garden and ornamental bed. So I'm sure this won't be the last time I'll be growing them.