Artichokes are pretty interesting vegetables, having long and silvery leaves with strikingly attractive blooms. Its looks alone make it a unique addition to any vegetable garden, plus a beneficial one, as it isn’t difficult to grow, and you get new vegetables on your dinner table. While artichokes aren’t a very popular plant in the United States, they can be grown in almost all the US growing zones.
With that said, artichokes thrive best in the cool and moist climates of coastal California, though it’s still possible to grow them in western Oregon. The state has mild enough weather to grow the edible thistles, as perennials, so long as you care for them properly.
So if you’re planning on growing artichokes in Oregon, check out my helpful guide!
A Guide to Growing Artichokes in Oregon
Artichokes aren’t prickly weeds, they are awesome vegetables that can grow in any location. While they require a lot of room and patience (they have a long growing season), you get bountiful and large harvests for years to come. Here are the steps and tips you can follow when you grow them in Oregon:
1. Where to Plant
For starters, make sure that you select the right location to plant artichokes, preferably in an area with good drainage and a lot of sunlight. Soggy soil is usually the culprit as to why artichokes haven’t returned in the spring after cold winters. When it continues to sit in moisture, it damages the artichoke crown and root system.
2. Prepare Your Soil
Next up is to prepare the soil. Artichokes can grow in most types of soil, but you’re better off planting it in deeply worked and nutrient-rich soil that has a lot of organic matter. This will help with the harvest!
Check the texture of the soil by grabbing a handful and giving it a squeeze. The soil shouldn’t clump together, nor should it fall apart. Rather, it should gently crumble across your hand.
Prepare the artichoke soil bed by digging rows of at least eight inches deep, working in about five inches of compost. For larger gardens, mix 100 pounds of manure for every 100 square feet of garden area.
3. Planting Artichokes
You can grow artichokes from seedlings, though it will take some time, as they need to be around 60 days old before you transfer them to the garden.
It might be better to start with root divisions, which is an easier and more suitable option, being available in local and online nurseries and/or garden centers.
Place the artichokes under full sun and not too close together to avoid larger artichokes shading smaller plants. It should be in rows at intervals between 4-6 feet, with plants being 6-8 feet apart for room to easily fertilize, water, and harvest the plants. Improve soil drainage by building the rows up in mounts or with irrigation channels.
4. Tricking the Annual Artichokes
Annual artichoke varieties would produce buds during the first season as they aren’t guaranteed to last come wintertime. You can “trick” them instead by exposing seedlings to cooler temperatures below 50 degrees during March and April, and once the temperatures are below freezing, place them indoors and plant until after the last frost arrives.
5. Watering Your Artichokes
Artichokes love and need water, needing it for producing tender buds. The power of the plants will lie in their deep roots, so make sure that you water them deeply around 1-3 times a week, depending on your area’s weather.
Extremely hot summer seasons can cause the buds to open quickly into flowers, so prevent this from happening by doing overhead irrigation. Also, mulch around the plants to reduce soil temperatures and water evaporation.
6. Applying Fertilizer
Take time to fertilize your artichoke bed properly so you give them the adequate amount of nutrients they need to start growing and developing, producing yummy vegetables. Apply balances vegetable plant food every two weeks during the growing season, so you get healthy plants and higher yields.
7. How to Harvest
The center artichoke buds would mature the fastest and grow largest. When you harvest artichoke, use a utility knife and cut the stem to about 1-3 inches from the bud’s base. When you harvested the center bud, the plant will then produce side shoots with small buds measuring between 1-3 inches in diameter, which you can harvest as well for their tenderness and flavor.
8. Pruning After Harvest
After the plant stops bud production during the fall, prune your plants, which will help them prepare for the over-wintering. To do this, just cut your artichokes’ stems back a few inches above the ground, then apply a thick mulch of leaves and/or straw over the artichoke bed. This will help protect your plants from the colder winter days.
If ever the weather drops to below 15 degrees, some of the plants may be damaged. When spring arrives, remove the mulch after the last frost date of the growing zone, and repeat the cycle of caring for it again. They will last for about five years.
Would you like to learn more about growing artichokes in Oregon? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
If you’re planning to grow artichokes in Oregon, then you’re in luck! With the right care and resources, you can have yummy produce to harvest and cook for your next dinner. And don’t worry, artichokes aren’t a hassle to grow and maintain at all, so long as you are have the knowledge on how to care for them.
Hopefully, my guide to growing artichokes in Oregon helped you out! Don’t wait any longer and begin your journey to growing artichokes now! Good luck and happy gardening.