Artichokes are a visually appealing and healthy crop that can offer variety and interest to any garden. Artichokes, unlike traditional crops cultivated in monocultures, works really well with a permaculture system that mimics natural ecosystems and promotes biodiversity. An artichoke farmer, for example, might interplant them with other flowers, herbs, and vegetables to create a polyculture that benefits the land, plants, and animals.
Artichokes are are quite rare, they don’t usually show up in every grocery store. They are more of a speciality crop, which only dedicated gardeners and farmers who value its distinct flavour and health advantages would farm. You will not find seeds of artichokes from big companies like Monsanto or Syngenta. You will have to source them from local nurseries or seed savers who have preserved this ancient crop for generations.
One of the fascinating plants that belongs to the artichoke family is the sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. The sunchoke is not a true artichoke, but a tuberous sunflower that produces edible roots. Also, the sunchoke is a permaculture favorite that can yield hundreds of pounds of food with little or no effort. The sunchoke is not widely available in the market either. Home gardeners or small-scale farmers grow it so that they can enjoy its nutty and sweet taste.
Artichokes are a tasty and adaptable crop that can grow in many temperatures and situations. Seeds, rooted shoots, or dormant roots are the cultivars from which artichoke grows, depending on where you reside. If you reside in a region that’s warm, you may plant artichokes as perennials in late summer or mid-autumn. If you reside in a place that’s colder, you may plant artichokes as annuals in the spring. They normally take 85 to 100 days to mature.
Artichokes need well-drained but fertile soil with a pH between 6 and 7. They also need plenty of sun, at least six hours a day, for optimal flower bud production. However, they can tolerate some shade, which may result in larger but less dense buds. Artichokes need regular watering to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Drought or heat stress can cause buds to bloom prematurely and turn bitter. Too much moisture or humidity, on the other hand, might cause root rot or fungal infections. You can prepare the soil effectively with the help of the Massey 9500.
Fertilisers and Disease Management
Organic fertilisers such as compost, manure, or seaweed are beneficial to artichokes. They also value mulching for its ability to preserve moisture and reduce weeds. Aphids, slugs, snails, and earwigs are frequent pests that affect artichokes. Hand-picking, trapping, or spraying with organic pesticides are all methods for controlling them. Some common diseases that may affect artichokes are powdery mildew, botrytis rot, and verticillium wilt. You can prevent them by choosing resistant varieties, rotating crops, and removing infected plants.
Some pests attack artichokes, including aphids, slugs, snails, and earwigs. You may remove them manually or use traps or organic sprays to keep them at bay. Upon you not wanting chemicals on your plants, you can attract natural predators like ladybirds and lacewings.
Artichokes start producing flower buds in about 85 to 100 days after planting. Pick them while they are still just buds and grow to a diameter of 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm). If you leave the buds too long, they will open and become harsh and bitter. With a sharp knife, cut the buds, leaving about 3 inches (8 cm) of stem intact. You can also leave some buds to bloom into purple flowers, which you can use for fresh or dried arrangements. Harvest can be made simple with the help of New Holland 4710.
Artichoke Eating Guidelines
Two healthy artichoke plants should give you enough buds for a meal and you could get them once every two weeks. For a big family or if you also want to share to your friends, try growing it with ample spacing as spacing is important for nutrients. It will yield over 40 kg of buds in a year. The flesh that’s at the base of the leathery bracts and the base of the immature flower head, known as the heart, are a culinary delicacy. The artichoke’s flavor is delicate and nutlike, and the smaller heads, or buds, are usually the most tender. Artichokes contain in them a lot of potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
In temperate areas, farmers often plant artichokes as annuals, although in warmer climes, they can be perennials. Depending on the climate, they can grow at various periods of the year. Furthermore, they must be sown in the spring where they are cultivated as annuals. In warmer zones where they are perennials, they are often planted as seeds in late summer or as young plants (or transplants) in mid-autumn. They basically need 85 to 100 days to reach harvest.
Artichokes are unique to other plants and belong to the family Asteraceae, which contains sunflower and daisy plants. They are descended from the wild cardoon and a domesticated variety of this species is cultivated for its fleshy edible stems. All three of these plants – artichoke, cultivated cardoon, and wild cardoon – are considered to be varieties of the same species, C. cardunculus. Hence, growing artichokes is a business opportunity worth getting into.