My amazing little artichoke is flowering

Upon re-reading my title, I realized it might actually sound a little bit naughty…if you are the type that keeps your head in the gutter, that is (and apparently I am one of those people if I thought this in the first place.  Hmmm.).  Upon even further reflection though, I think the thought came to mind because years ago, when I was teaching biology, I was doing an internet search for an image of an artichoke to use in a lecture.  One would think that searching for “artichoke” is innocent enough, but I guess I was naive because I stumbled across an image of a very well-endowed woman wearing, well, not much of anything.  How exactly was that related to artichokes?  I’m still trying to figure that one out.  If you happen to know the answer, please let me know.

Anyhoo…moving on.

My artichoke–the plant…in my garden–the one that survived the -22 degrees F winter last year.  Oh, right…that one!  Yes, well, I let a few of the flowers bloom in the hopes that I can save the seed and propagate some Montana hardy globe artichokes.  Because starting the seed in January is sort of a pain and I would rather not dig up my plants every year to overwinter in the basement, only to have the aphids hatch out of the soil and suck them dry a few weeks before they were to be replanted (Harumph!).  You see, I would absolutely love to offer artichokes to our CSA members!  And I will make it happen.  Maybe next year, maybe not next year, but it will happen.

Have you ever seen an artichoke in flower?  They are BEAUTIFUL!

artichoke-bloom

And they are humongous.  And the bees love ’em.  This one actually has a bee on it (on the right side you can just barely see some its black & yellow fuzzy body tucked down in the purple petals).  Here’s a few more pictures:

artichoke-plant

And these were the small heads I let bloom!  I harvested the big ones!

artichoke-flower

We have at least a month, and possibly a lot longer, before the first freeze is expected, so these babies should have plenty of time left to set seed.  When the time comes to clean the seed from the flower head, I’ll post some photos and/or video because it is quite a process to clean them!  The first time I cleaned the seed, I was surprised at how involved it was.  Teaser: needle nose pliers were involved.  That’s all I’m gonna say.

This weekend Hubby is continuing work on the fence.  It’s been on the wish list for a few years now, and I’m so happy it’s finally coming to fruition.  The deer will have to find other peppers, cucumbers, beans, strawberries, peas, tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb, sunflowers, kale (the list is pretty much endless) to eat because this buffet is closing its doors.  The chickens will have a much larger space to roam, so that will make them very happy.  It will make me very happy, too, because it means the Girls won’t have access to the backyard and the deck anymore–which means: I won’t be stepping in chicken poop anymore when I go out on my deck!

Ah, it is the simple things in life that bring me the greatest pleasure.

4 thoughts on “My amazing little artichoke is flowering

  1. Ah I know the chicken poop problem all to well. I’m sure my girls are trying to get into the house or tease the dogs through the glass door. I keep trying to remember shoes when I step out the back door….

    The artichokes look wonderful, I can’t wait to see how to save seed from them! Are globe artichokes best started from seed in fall?

    Have a great weekend, Em

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    1. Em, I start my artichoke seeds in mid-winter, usually around New Year’s, but sometimes I don’t get around to it until late January. They need 3 or 4 sets of true leaves before you set them out in early spring for a few light freezes (well mulched). This ‘tricks’ them into thinking they are already a year old and they will flower their first year. Normally they don’t flower until the 2nd year, at least that’s what all the garden manuals tell you. Perhaps I need to start some from seed in the garden and see if that’s really true! Hmmm, an experiment for next summer!

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    1. If they flowered, you might have some seeds to save right now! Unless you’ve already gotten rid of them, that is. If they are still hanging out on the plant, let them dry completely and then cut them off, leaving a 2″ stem or so & store them somewhere dry and cool. There’s no hurry to extract the seeds as long as the head are dry.

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