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In My Garden: Artichokes!

In 2014, I had some extra space in my garden along the fence so I decided to try planting artichokes.  Artichokes are a perennial, like asparagus, that come up year after year once planted. Each year they sprout additional plants that can be transplanted to add to your collection, so don't buy too many to start with because over time you will have a good-sized crop. Also, the more heads you cut, the more heads the plants will produce, so don't be afraid to harvest your artichokes. Unfortunately this is not a drought-tolerant plant, you will need to water them at least once a week on the coast and probably more if you live inland where it's hotter.

The first year might be lean, but after five years I have a very good yield already. The artichoke plants have multiplied and the artichokes themselves have gotten much bigger. Some of the hearts are easily three inches in diameter! We steam about eight at a time, and have artichokes and a big green salad for dinner. They are very filling. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are high in antioxidants. 

The only downside to planting artichokes is that you won't enjoy the ones from the grocery store anymore, the flavors of artichokes fresh from the garden just can't be beat. 

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