...Sweetheart Artichoke Co. Store
Q: I'm in the process of replanting artichokes in my garden here in Las Vegas. I was under the impression that my plants would keep going strong year after year. Last summer they failed and your site explained why!
Is there one variety of plant that will do better for me here in the desert?
If I were to order three or four plants from you, what would you recommend?
A: Shade Cloth
I am glad that my website was helpful! I do sell a lot of artichoke varieties to Nevada. The key to growing any variety in Las Vegas is to have filtered sunshine. If your plants are in full sun, then you will need 30% nursery shade cloth. I purchase mine at www.shadeclothstore.com. They custom make all orders to your specifications and it is very affordable too. Make sure to order the shade cloth early enough in the season so you can receive it in a timely manner. You will need 30% woven shade cloth, hemmed, with grommets. It should last about 5 or more years. With a shade cloth overhead, then all varieties (except the Canada Star) will grow well in your climate.
Las Vegas is located in hardy growing zone 9 as well as where I am located in California, also zone 9. The only difference is that our nighttime summer temps cool down at night and we do not have as long as a summer as Las Vegas, Nevada. I grow all of my 1st season potted plants under a shade cloth at 40% shade. However, 40% is too tight of a weave for someone who wants to grow globes. The plants I have in-ground for personal use receive morning and early afternoon sun (no shade cloth), and then partial sun to full shade during hottest part of the day.
My personal artichokes are: Italian Romanesco, Italian Violetto, Green Globe, and Imperial Star. All would be just right for you too. (If they do not show available in my online store, email me and I will put together a custom order for you.) I do have garden friends in Arizona (also very hot there) who keep their artichoke plants in full sun and no shade cloth.
Soil and Mulch
Soil and mulch makes a huge difference when growing artichoke plants in hot climate zones. The best soil is a mix of 1 part Miracle Grow potting soil, 1 part decomposed granite, and 1 part bagged steer manure (cured, comes bagged at Lowe’s and Home Depot). The best mulch is either water hyacinth or water lettuce from a pond. The roots soak up the fish excrement and provide valuable nitrogen to the soil. It has the same properties as the dried fish emulsion sold at hydroponics stores. Dried leaves and grass clippings are also helpful, but never apply coffee grounds into a mulch pile.
Artichoke Growing Mistakes
1. The mistake many growers make is trimming off dead or wilted leaves when the artichoke plant is mature. It is vitally important to allow the bottom leaves to naturally lay down, because it shades the soil and protects the roots.
2. Too much water produces small globes and can actually drown the plant! Treat your artichoke like a tomato plant by stressing it just a little between watering. Water well once per week in the summer months and then light watering as needed.
3. Chemical fertilizers can burn and kill your young artichoke plant. Artichokes are big feeders, so use a different organic fertilizer each week; such as egg shells, fireplace ash (with no chemicals or plastics in the ash), cured steer manure, and diluted powdered milk.
4. Over crowding plants will also produce smaller globes. Healthy artichoke plants need five feet of space between plants to grow nice and big.
With all this in mind, you should be very successful growing an artichoke garden!
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