If you’re growing artichokes, this is a tip you don’t want to miss! In our years of artichoke growing experience, one of the most beneficial things we’ve found is to up-pot our ‘chokes into larger containers. We use 5.5″/2.3 quart pots as an interim step, but you could also consider half or even full gallon. They will use every bit of this soil by the time we go into the ground!
We have found that artichokes generally prefer a concept we call “continual growth” or basically trying to keep them from becoming root bound. Not only will this ease your watering requirements for the next month, since they tend to be quite thirsty, but it will also help guarantee your artichokes in the late season. We’ve found that artichokes that are allowed to become root bound tend to not do as well as those that don’t experience this.
When we started practicing this a few years ago, we observed that our actual artichokes would come on a fair bit sooner. Our starts were also considerably larger, which generally coincides with more maturity. The benefits have become so important that we’ve pretty much rolled in up-potting into our standard practice with artichokes.
Also, if you’re new to artichokes, the early part of the season is important for them. They need to experience about of week of temperatures in the 50’s to actually produce the artichoke. So, if you’ve got them in indoors or in a rather warm greenhouse, it might be a good idea to get them outside now and again. Artichokes are considerably cold hardy, so they can easily withstand temperatures into the high 30’s and low 40’s without any difficulty. They are a good candidate to leave outside once overnight temperatures are consistently in the 40’s.
And, if all this news about growing artichokes is blowing your mind, yes it’s real! We’ve got an extensive article on growing this amazing thistle in subarctic conditions, linked in the comments. We consider ourselves quite lucky as this isn’t the reality for many cold climates!