Let’s discuss my artichoke plant. Here is the plant last year, 4 months after planting the seed.
And here it is today, just shy of one year old.
I knew it was going to take up a lot of space, but man oh man.
The crazy thing is, I thought it died at the end of last summer! Throughout July and August my artichoke was so unhappy. It was way too hot for the poor thing. I watered, mulched, watered some more… but all awhile I felt that I was fighting a losing battle. Then I went out of town for over a week last August. Temperatures were in the 100s every day I was gone. I came home and all that was left of my artichoke were the traces of two leaves, fried to a crisp.
A few weeks later my husband went out to clear the garden beds for me (how nice of him!) and called me out. Boom. There it was. My artichoke plant!
And now? My artichoke couldn’t be happier. I haven’t touched it at all since the end of last summer. I haven’t watered, mulched, or pruned it. I legit do not do a thing. And here it is! Every time I go outside I swear the thing doubles in size.
I never got a harvest last year. I never expected it though, given that I planted the seed in late February. But I expect a harvest this year. If harvest is good this might be one of my new favorite plants to grow. It was very easy to grow from seed and it germinated in a mere two days. I had to water it a lot in the summer but otherwise it has been very low maintenance. It’s also a beautiful plant. I love how big and floppy the leaves are. As much as I want some tasty artichoke buds I also want to see it flower – artichokes have the most beautiful flowers.
I should mention… in case you didn’t know, the artichokes that you buy at the store are the flower buds of the plant. You want to harvest the buds right when they reach their full size but before they start to open up and bloom. If you were to let the buds bloom they would give you beautiful, purple flowers. The fact that we eat the flower bud also means you don’t have to worry about pollination and therefore you don’t need to grow multiple plants if you don’t have the space. Maybe you knew this already. But I’ll admit it – I didn’t know this fact until a few years ago. (Shout out to Alton Brown’s Good Eats for educating me.)
Anyways, hopefully I’ll be writing come May about my artichoke harvest and all the tasty dishes I cook up with them!