How To Trim An Artichoke
Mat Noor

Trimming an artichoke is not difficult once you understand the process. Artichokes require just a bit of work after harvest to become edible.

1.Use a serrated knife to trim off the top third of the artichoke bud.

2.Remove the outer 2 layers of leaves from around the stem.

3.Use kitchen shears to trim the sharp tips off each remaining outer leaf.

4.If you want the artichoke to sit flat, cut off the stem. Otherwise, simply peel it with a paring knife.

5.Place the trimmed artichoke in a bowl of lemon water to keep it fresh until ready to steam.

Types of Artichoke Plants

The many different varieties of artichokes mean you can choose the perfect variety for your garden. Some of the most popular types of artichoke include:

·Green Globe Artichoke – considered the original improved artichoke. It’s capable of budding in the first year, produces as an annual in climates as cool as Zone 3 and is still able to handle warm summers as a perennial. It reaches harvest early – at only 75 days.

·Big Heart Artichoke – a painless variety with no thorns. This relatively new variety is able to handle warm weather and can be grown as an annual from seed. This artichoke’s name pays homage to its ability to reach up to 5 ½ inches.

·Violetta Artichoke – a heavy producer of side buds. This heirloom variety from Italy has an attractive purple bud known for its tenderness. As a smaller plant, the Violetta artichoke requires only a 3-foot spacing between plants.

·Jerusalem Artichoke – also known as a sunchoke. In fact, the Jerusalem artichoke is actually not an artichoke at all, despite its name. It’s a species of sunflower, native to North America. Much different than an actual artichoke, these plants grow from about 5 feet to over 9 feet, with sunny yellow sunflower-esque blooms. The edible tuber portion resembles ginger root and is typically between 3 – 4 inches long.

Artichoke Growing FAQs

Common Pests and Diseases for Artichokes

While overwhelmingly hardy plants, gardeners should be on the alert for a few of the following common pests and diseases for artichokes.

·Artichoke plume moth is actually a small larva which damages the artichoke bud throughout the entire growing season. A regular insecticide program can help control an infestation.

·Slugs and snails often eat the leaves, stems and outer surface of artichoke buds. There are many organic and chemical methods for control.

·Curley dwarf disease kills artichoke plants. Symptoms include curling leaves, stunted growth, misshapen buds and reduced production. Plants should be removed from the garden.

·Botrytis blight is a fungus that develops on artichoke plants damaged by disease, weather or pests. It often appears as a grey-brown coating on the leaves during a warm and wet summer. There is no remedy. Infected plants should be removed and destroyed.

·Young earwigs leave holes in leaves. Most of the damage is simply cosmetic, but a heavy infestation can damage young shoots. Earwig traps help cut down on the population. Hot pepper repellents can be sprayed as a deterrent.

When is Artichoke Growing Season?

The artichoke season depends on your climate and variety. In the extremely warm coastal areas of Zones 9-11, artichokes grow throughout the winter and begin bud growth in May. Harvest continues into mid-June. In the mid-range zones of the country, artichokes live through winter under the soil and begin new growth once the ground begins to warm in the spring. Annual artichokes can be transplanted into the garden after the last frost.

What Growing Zone is Ideal for Artichokes?

Artichokes thrive in areas with mild winters, cool summers and plenty of moisture. As a perennial, artichokes perform well in hardiness Zones 7-11. Colder zone gardeners can grow artichokes as an annual vegetable or over-winter their perennial varieties in a sheltered area.

Can You Transplant Artichokes?

Transplanting artichokes is the ideal method of planting. Artichoke seeds are usually only 80% true to their parent plant. Transplants from indoor starts or dividing ensures you grow exactly what you want.

The Difference Between Artichoke Bushes and Trees

While mature artichoke plants do have a somewhat bushy appearance, there actually is no such thing as an artichoke bush or an artichoke tree. The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and grows large stalks with edible buds that are widely used in culinary dishes around the world.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Artichokes?

Perennial varieties of artichokes usually begin budding in their second year of growth. In ideal growing conditions – such as the coastal areas of California – artichoke plants produce buds throughout the entire year. For the rest of the country, buds begin to appear in early summer. The center bud matures the fastest, followed by the side buds for the rest of the growing season. Most artichoke plants reach harvest in 85 to 100 days.

How to Tell if an Artichoke is Ripe

Size is the primary way to tell if an artichoke is ripe. The central choke bud should be harvested when it is between 3 to 5 inches in diameter. If you wait too long, the artichoke becomes tough. The secondary side buds are best harvested when between 1 to 3 inches in size. If you wait too long to harvest, the bud will open into the artichoke flower – a surprisingly fragrant and beautiful flower.