The artichoke is a cool weather plant from the sunflower family. Artichokes grow into a thistle-type form with arching leaves and an attractive pink-purple flower. The mild winter climate in Texas makes this plant a perennial in most areas. A mature artichoke reaches a height up to 4 feet and may resemble a large fern. Artichokes grow well in the moist coastal areas of Texas. Planting artichokes inland requires supplemental water to keep the soil moist for growth and production.
Things You'll Need
- Organic compost
- Organic mulch
- 5-10-10 fertilizer
- 10-10-10 fertilizer
- High-nitrogen fertilizer
- Plant clipper
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Prepare a planting area that has well-draining soil and is in full sunlight. Amend the soil by working 4 inches of organic compost or composted manure with a tiller.
Dig 6-inch holes spaced 4 feet apart for the artichoke root sections. Set the root into the hole so the tops stay above ground level. Cover the roots with soil and tamp down to hold in place.
Apply a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the plants once they grow to 6 inches tall. Refresh the mulch layer each spring to assist with soil moisture retention during the hot summers.
Provide supplemental water to the soil around the artichokes throughout the growing season. The plant performs best when the soil remains evenly moist with 1 to 2 inches of water each week.
Apply a 5-10-10 fertilizer every three weeks to young artichokes. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer to mature artichokes in the spring and a high-nitrogen fertilizer in fall.
Cut the artichoke plants to the ground in fall for central and southern Texas where the climate is warm during the winter months.
Cut the plants to a height of 15 inches in fall for areas of northern Texas where the climate is cool in winter. Protect the plants in winter by bending the stalks to the ground, placing 4 inches of mulch over the plant and 8 inches of straw on top of the mulch. Place a tarp over the artichoke garden plot and secure it with stakes. Remove the tarp in spring and pull off the mulch and straw when there is no longer a danger of frost.
Divide the artichoke plant every three years to prevent a decrease in production. Dig the artichoke from the ground and divide the root mass into three or four sections with a sharp knife. Plant the divisions immediately to prevent the roots from drying.