Artichokes…

This is my first year growing edibles (except for strawberries, raspberries and grapes).

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I didn’t really plan very well so I ended up at the garden center in June buying random plants for my edible gardens.

I walked out of there with 3 grape tomato plants, 2 purple pepper plants, some bare root asparagus, a lemon cucumber plant, a bunch of marigolds, and an artichoke plant.

I put them in the ground and hoped for the best.

Then, my neighbor implied that cucumbers are nearly impossible to grow – he said multiple times “cucumbers need a lot of organics”.  The asparagus was a bit sparse.  The marigolds around the tomatoes died off.  A garden host on a neighborhood garden tour mentioned that he had successfully grown pretty much everything but artichokes – he basically said artichokes were a waste of good garden space here in Colorado.  As you can imagine, I was bummed about my plant choices – it seemed like my edible garden would be disappointing this year – I was prepared.

But then it happened… I saw several lemon cucumbers growing!  I had never seen a lemon cucumber so I had to research how to know when they are ripe.  Basically, they turn yellow and are the size of a lemon –  I will likely offer the surplus to my neighbor – awkward.  My grape tomatoes started to ripen to red – and there are a bazillion little tomatoes.  Purple peppers appeared.

My first harvest was pretty exciting.

First Harvest

In the meantime, the artichoke plant kept getting bigger and bigger – though no actual artichoke in sight – but then again I wasn’t really expecting an artichoke since the garden guy said it wouldn’t produce anyway.  One day I am strolling along my garden path at lunchtime looking to pick a few strawberries.   I look down and what do I see?  It was an artichoke forming – finally!!!

Baby artichoke

I was so excited – I took a picture and texted Tad – I proclaimed that I had an artichoke growing and I missed my calling – I should have been a farmer! Over the next several weeks, 3 more artichokes sprouted on the same plant.

Big artichoke

At one point, there were ants everywhere so I researched it.  Apparently, artichokes are part of the thistle family and prone to aphids.  The aphids produce sticky stuff – which is what the ants are attracted to.  Sure enough, upon closer inspection, my artichoke plant had aphids.  I hosed the aphids off with a sharp spray of water – it did the trick – no more aphids or ants.

Now I am just waiting for the right time to pick the artichokes and I am thinking about doing some fall/cold weather crops – apparently you can plant stuff in late summer and harvest it in early winter!