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Roots and Perennials Planting Days in Mid-Winter – Globe Artichokes From Seed

Roots and perennials planting days yesterday and today, but they’re town work days for me, so most of  it will have to wait for the weekend.  This weekend I’ll put in another round of seed and plant out another round of carrots and beetroots, and pot up this thyme and also some sage I’ve propagated from seed.

So all I’ve really done this break is to stick some artichoke seeds in a seed raising box this morning.  Theoretically I should wait for Spring to plant them, but the days are now lengthening and though it is still quite cold, they don’t need warm soil to germinate and they won’t freeze in the shadehouse.

Artichokes are easiest propagated from pups, or suckers taken from an adult plant in autumn after the plant has stopped bearing.  If you are careful, you can drive a shovel down between the parent and the sucker and separate a sucker with roots.  You can plant it out straight away, or pot it up till spring then plant it out. The baby will be a clone, genetically identical to the parent.

But I wanted to try a new variety.  Imperial Star is a variety bred for frost-free situations, and supposed to bear much earlier.  I like the idea of having artichoke hearts for winter dishes, and I’m a sucker for seed catalogues!

I soaked the seed overnight and sowed it into a mixture of creek sand and old compost in a seed raising box.  I shall pot the seedlings up and raise them in the shadehouse till they are advanced seedlings, then plant them out into the garden. They are actually giant thistles and have the same deep tap root, so they can cope with hot dry conditions quite well but not water logging – they like a well drained, sunny spot where the root won’t rot.   They’re big plants, needing a bit of space, but they’re quite decorative and one of the few things I can plant outside my fortress fencing since they have their own thistle-y defenses against possums, birds, bandicoots, wallabies, turkeys and everything else that wants to share my garden.

Since artichokes are semi-perennial, lasting a few years, it’s worth spending a bit of effort to plant them in a nice spot, so I’ll give each seedling a good half bucket of compost at planting out. But for now, lets just see if I get some up!


{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Jason Dingley July 21, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I am about to a seed planting day with my garden group. Considering I live in Adelaide (temperate) and don’t have a hot house, what plants would you recommend? Should I also do roots and perennials?

  • Linda July 21, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Hi Jason, by the lunar planting calendar, it’s a roots and perennials planting break, but I only put just so much trust in the lunar calendar. It keeps me organised and it seems to make a difference, but that may be just because I’m looking for it. In your part of the world, you should still be able to plant late season long day onions, and also beetroot and shallots, and I plant All Seasons carrots all year round. It’s a bit early for parsnips but you could get away with them in seed raising pots. You can plant artichoke seeds and propagate most perennial herbs in seed boxes or pots, and it’s a good time of year for taking cuttings if you can keep them out of frost. But if you’ve got people to work with on a seed planting day I’d also plant some fruiting plants – peas and snow peas – and some leafies – lettuces, rocket, kale, leeks, chinese cabbages.

  • Anne Heath July 21, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I planted one artichoke plant a few years ago and let it go to seed, lots of lovely artichokes have come up everywhere. i’ve also seperated the older ones so have many plants. i enjoy looking at them as much as i enjoy eating them.

  • Alison July 21, 2011, 10:57 pm

    Oh I’m so glad you just planted globe artichoke seeds, because I just did the same thing! I have never grown them before, so I am quite excited to see how they turn out. I can’t remember what kind mine are, I hope your imperial stars are a success 🙂


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