Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Field of Dreams

Every fall I participate in an act of faith and hope not unlike Charlie Brown's annual football disaster. My Lucy is the artichoke and my down field dream is a spring of overwintered artichoke plants.

This year several things are different. First there is a new bed for the artichokes just outside the garden fence. Second there are two new varieties ... Emerald and Northern Star which are both known for their ability to manage better in northern climates. Third, I have improvised a new warming strategy.
In years past I had cut the plants back in October and mounded straw and pine branches and finally black plastic over these perennial possibles. No luck at all. So this year I am letting them grow into the frost ... nothing too hard ... cutting back the dead leaves and have surrounded them with hay bales, nestled the plants in some straw. Then I unearthed some old windows from the basement and placed them over the top. I have left the south side open to the sun and my hope is to create a protected area that the sun can reach.
I know SOME of you have had success over wintering artichokes and I would welcome any comments you have.


Miss T said...

I hope it works! I'll be interested to know. I'd love to try growing artichokes here in the frozen northland. Fingers crossed for you.

Rose said...

In my zone 4b garden, your set up would be great for keeping things growing into early winter and also for getting a jump on the season in spring. I've never grown artichokes so I don't know any of the particulars about them. Having said all of that...I know I would have a terrible time with mice, voles and maybe rats seeking their way into that earthy, warm place. You might want to place some baits or traps around the perimeter to keep them from eating your vegetables. I hope you'll post later and let us know how it's working for you.