Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Artichokes rising

Neighbors have been asking: "What is that huge plant in the front corner of your yard? Is that an Artichoke?"
My reply: "Why yes, it is!"

And it's a behemoth:

Artichokes are king in Castroville, which is only a few miles from my house. In fact, they host an Artichoke Festival every year in the small agricultural town. has all the details of the 50th celebration of this lovely thistle.

Just one of several posters available for purchase on the site:

There's a reason artichokes are so widely grown in Castroville and I'll bet you can guess it.

That's right, climate. According to the festival organizers:

"Artichokes are a marine climate vegetable and thrive in the cooler coastal climates. The artichoke does best in frost-free areas with cool, foggy summers but will grow almost anywhere there are at least 100 frost free days. Freezing temperatures will kill the buds and hot, dry conditions destroy the tenderness though artichokes do, however, like full sun."

A baby artichoke just beginning to emerge.

It's all about the cool weather crops here on the Central Coast!


Daphne said...

Nice artichoke. No one grows them around my neck of the woods (New England). We have a marine climate too, but I don't think it is long enough.

Michelle said...

Lovely artichokes! I've got one in a pot, mainly as a curiosity and because I like the flowers. The gophers would get anything I put in the ground. And since there's acres and acres of them so near, I'll buy them instead of picking another fight with the gophers.

Jackie said...

You are probably right, Daphne. I planted this one as a small seedling back in October.

Jackie said...

Hi Michelle. Gophers are the bane of my existence! I found some plastic-coated wire baskets at the dollar store. Best $1 I ever spent.

In the backyard, we actually dug out the beds and put wire mesh down like a big basket. It's a lot of work, but better than the sorrow of stolen plants :)

Josie said...

we have a huge artichoke doing well in south texas too! i like the photo of the little baby.

Jackie said...

Thanks, Josie. Good luck with your artichoke. I've just noticed some ants crawling around on the chokes...not sure if I should do something...