How to grow artichokes

How to grow artichokes in Perth

Artichokes are easy to grow in Perth’s Mediterranean climate and that also make great feature plants. There are two main types of artichoke commonly grown in Perth. The Jerusalem Artichoke is a type of sunflower and the tuber is eaten. The Globe Artichoke is part of the daisy family and the flower bud of the plant is eaten.

Artichokes are tough survivors; needing minimal water, and although plants die off in summer after flowering, they come back every autumn, reshooting from the base. Your plants can be divided to give you even more wonderful artichoke plants. Artichokes can be grown from seed or cuttings. Individual plants are mostly biennial; some varieties will live for five years

Jerusalem artichokes are a good source of fibre, iron and vitamin B, and a good food for diabetics. You can eat the whole bud by steaming it or cooking in a little water with lemon juice for 10 minutes. They are also fantastic as artichoke dip.

If you have ever wondered how to grow artichoke in Perth, Western Australia then look no further. A relatively simple plant to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing artichoke in Australia, but get these right and you will be laughing.

When to plant artichoke in Perth:
The Jerusalem artichoke is a spring and summer growing plant suited to southern Western Australia. Crops planted between September and November usually give the best yield and harvesting usually takes place between March and May.

Frosts cause severe damage to young plants. Fortunately most parts of Perth have minimal frost if we are lucky.

Types of artichoke in Western Australia:
There are two main types of artichoke commonly grown in Perth, WA.

  • Jerusalem artichoke – A perennial tuberous sunflower, with tall elegant yellow flower heads that die down to form delicious earthy tubers in late autumn to winter. Extremely productive, one plant yields 12 or more tubers, so be sure to give your plants plenty of room.
  • Globe artichoke – Globe shaped green fruit with a purplish base. Productive and good tasting. Perennial. Suits cool areas.

How to grow artichoke at home:
Planting artichoke is very simple but you just need to make sure that the soil is well prepared.

  1. Start by preparing the garden bed with organic compost and soil improver and plant fertiliser. If soil is acidic, mix in a small amount of liquid lime and dolomite before planting.
  2. Sow your artichoke seeds, suckers or tubers directly where they are to grow, cover lightly with seed raising mix, gently firm down and keep moist. Thin seedlings to 60cm apart and feed every two weeks with liquid plant food.

How to grow artichoke in pots:
Can you grow artichokes in pots? Yes you can! You just need a pot 30cm or wider.

  1. Globe artichokes like to spread, so ensure the pot is 1m wide and at least 30cm deep. Fill pot with a quality potting mix enriched with dynamic lifter and plant artichoke seeds or tubers.

When to harvest artichoke:
Jerusalem artichokes are usually harvested five to six months from planting. If you’ve planted Jerusalem artichokes, in autumn the plants begin to die back and, when they’re completely brown, the harvest can begin. Use your hands to ‘bandicoot’ under the plant bases and pull out the tubers.

Globe artichokes, on the other hand are generally ready to harvest in spring. Pick the buds when they are firm, but just before they open. Tip: Use a sharp knife to cut the stem and leave a few centimetres of stem.

Storing artichoke at home:
Storing artichokes can be a little difficult. Raw artichokes do not keep well and should be eaten right away. If not eaten fresh artichokes should be refrigerated. Place artichokes in a plastic vegetable bag and used as quickly as possible. Cooked artichokes can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Artichoke care and common problems:
Plants can be affected by caterpillars, nematodes, slugs and two-spotted mites and the tubers must be handled with care as the skin is thin and easily bruised.

Water the base of the artichoke plant, early in the day so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall; this will help keep the plants disease free.

Notes:
Keep artichokes in a dry, dark place until planting

Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides:

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