Ontario’s Latest Crop Craze: Artichokes Are on the Rise!

Growing artichokes in Canada may appear difficult due to the country’s cooler climate, but with the proper care and attention, a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious artichokes is possible. In this article, we’ll look at the best ways to grow artichokes in Canada, including advice on soil preparation, climate zones, and pest control.

Climate Zones in Canada for Growing Artichokes

Artichokes are a Mediterranean crop that grows well in hot, dry weather. Artichokes can be grown in Canada’s warmer regions, including southern Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. These areas are typically classified as USDA Hardiness Zones 7-9, implying a minimum temperature range of 0-10 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -12 degrees Celsius).

If you live in a cooler climate, you can still grow artichokes, but it will take more effort and care. Artichokes are best grown as annuals in these areas, starting the plants indoors in early spring and transplanting them outside once the weather warms up. Choose a warm, sheltered spot in your garden that gets plenty of sun and is protected from strong winds.

Artichoke Soil Preparation

Artichokes prefer organically rich, well-draining soil. It is critical to prepare the soil before planting artichokes by removing any weeds and breaking up any large clumps of dirt. To improve the soil’s fertility and texture, add organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss.

Artichokes also prefer soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Using a soil test kit, test your soil and adjust the pH as needed by adding lime to raise the pH or sulphur to lower it.

Growing Artichokes

Artichokes can be started from seeds or purchased transplants from a nursery. Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost date if starting from seed. Transplants can be planted outside in early spring, once the soil temperature has reached at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Space artichokes 3-4 feet apart in rows 4-6 feet apart when planting. Water the plants on a regular basis, but don’t overwater them because artichokes are prone to root rot. To promote healthy growth and development, apply a balanced fertiliser every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Pest Control for Artichokes

Aphids, slugs, snails, and powdery mildew are among the pests and diseases that can affect artichokes. Keep your garden clean and free of debris, and use organic pest management methods like handpicking, companion planting, and natural predators like ladybirds and lacewings to avoid these issues.

In addition, inspect your plants on a regular basis for signs of pest and disease problems, and act quickly to prevent them from spreading. This could include using organic insecticides or fungicides, as well as removing infected plants entirely.

Artichoke Harvesting

Artichokes typically mature in 90-120 days, depending on variety and growing conditions. The first year is usually spent establishing the plant, and it may not produce any edible artichokes. However, the plant will produce multiple buds, or “chokes,” in subsequent years, which can be harvested and eaten.

Harvest artichokes when the buds have reached full size but before the scales begin to open. With a sharp knife, cut the bud off the plant, leaving about an inch of stem attached. Keep the harvested