Artichokes!

Artichokes have never been high on my list of vegetables to grow here in Montana. Because they prefer a much longer growing season, the effort to grow them to maturity has often outweighed the novelty of enjoying them out of my garden. In fact, California’s Monterey region grows almost 100% of the U.S. grown artichokes in this country. In addition, the plant itself takes up a lot of room,  real estate I’m often unwilling to give up for a plant that may yield very little.

However, last year, when there were three small artichoke seedlings left over from a client, I decided to throw them in my garden to see what would happen. Lo and behold, they produced, and I had finally found one vegetable that my niece was willing to eat (likely because it was slathered with butter).

Despite their challenges, artichokes are a fun vegetable to grow and have in your garden. The globe artichoke is actually a variety of thistle.  Essentially, you’re growing a giant thistle that pops out these beautiful edible flowerheads that later transform into gorgeous purple flowers if they aren’t harvested.

In our climate, it is best to plant artichokes as seedlings but often you’ll still get only two or three flowerheads by the end of the season. But, in my short video below, I show you what happens when your artichoke plant overwinters and gets a  jumpstart on the growing season. I didn’t think artichokes could survive our harsh winters but now that I know it’s possible, I think I will be intentional about mulching them well at the end of the season to see if they will come back again next Spring.  So check out the video and let me know if you’d had success with growing artichokes!

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