Friday, November 11, 2011

Winterize Your Artichoke Plants

Sweetheart Artichokes

Growing Zones 9 and Up
In hot or warm climates zone 9 and up, no winter care is needed for artichoke plants. Young 1st season plants can be kept year-round by placing a clear plastic tarp over at night to protect at night. The plant may go dormant, but will come up again bigger and fuller when the weather warms each spring.

Winter Care Zones 8 and Below
Artichokes go dormant in all growing zones during the winter and then come up again in the springtime. In growing zones 8 and cooler where there is snow fall and hard freeze, there are 2 recommended ways to plant and care for artichokes:

How the Italians Do It
In Italy, artichoke gardeners pull up their roots each year and bag them for winter storeage until there is no longer a threat of frost and freeze. By planting your artichoke in a garden box full of light and fluffy potting soil, it will make it easier to bag your artichoke plant after it has gone dormant for the season.

Straw and Poo
Before the heavy frost and after your artichoke goes dormant for the season…

........Lay a heavy layer of straw or mulch over the plant; about 12”, the thicker the better
........Cover the straw with a black tarp or black trash bags
........Add another layer of straw (about 12”)
........And then add a layer of raw steer or chicken manure
........Cover with a black plastic tarp and secure down to prevent it from blowing away.
........You will end up with a pile about 2 feet thick that will keep your artichoke warm throughout a cold winter season.

This is how my garden friends in Denver, Colorado winter-over their artichoke plants and they come back each year. The raw manure generates active bacteria that prevents the ground from freezing, and the thick layers keep the steamy pile from burning the artichoke plant below.

Garden Blessings! GAiL


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