- Artichokes are giant thistle plants that produce an edible flower bud if harvested before maturity. As the flower ‘matures’, ‘hearts’ will turn to ‘chokes’ – cough!
- Artichokes should be considered a garden annual (lives for one growing season) in the Northern Utah climate – although gardeners might find ‘microclimates’ where protected plants reemerge in spring. Try winter mulching plants for added protection.
- The first produced artichokes are larger in size, but subsequent flower buds are smaller but may be more tender and flavorful.
- Artichoke flowers are very attractive to bees.Expect to see multiple types of bees, like bumblebees and honeybees, on unharvested flower buds that go to bloom. Some gardeners use artichokes as an ornamental (and pollinator) plant in the landscape. How many bees do you see in the picture? (hint- watch the video to see if you are correct)
- A fresh artichoke should ‘squeak’ when squeezed and the size of the stalk should be comparable to the flower bud. Look for thick stalks as thin stalks maybe evidence of plant dehydration.
For more resources on growing and eating artichokes, see Artichoke in the Garden and USU Student Health and Wellness Center Nutrition – Artichokes.