Artichokes

I'm wanting to grow some artichokes this year, but I'll have to do containers. We have no soil, just clay and rocks. Big rocks. Is this feasible? My Dad grew artichokes years ago, but I can't remember much about them except they were pretty tall! I'm wondering what size container I should be trying to grow them in? Would a 5-gallon bucket be large enough?
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Kris wrote:

Yes
My Dad grew artichokes years ago, but I can't remember

Yes they are, about 4-5ft high and as wide when well grown.
I'm wondering what size

No. Much bigger if you want them to grow properly.
David
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On Sat, 31 Jan 2009 13:11:34 +1100, "David Hare-Scott"

Thank you for this. I didn't remember them being that wide.

Um -- how much is "much?" I could probably find some plastic 55-gallon barrels. Like that much? :-)
Thanks!

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On Fri, 30 Jan 2009 20:22:37 -0600, Kris wrote:

I had them in an 6 foot by 6 foot raised bed, and the roots were everywhere. I don't think even a 55 gallon bucket would work. The roots like to spread out.
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Kris wrote:

Half of one of those would give you a fair chance.
David
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On Sat, 31 Jan 2009 17:39:01 +1100, "David Hare-Scott"

Thanks, David. I think I'll try that.
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I've tried a couple of times to grow them from 2 year old plants from the nursery and they've always died on me. The second time, I'd put them in a 2' tall raised bed in good, well drained, sandy soil.
What kind of conditions do they need to grow? Most commercial artichokes are grown in California. I'm in south-central Texas, Austin area.
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Cool, damp, lots of fog preferred, frost-free. I remember small ones for sale on the road from San Francisco to Monterrey at 20/$1*. Remember Mark Twain: "I never spend a colder winter than one summer in San Francisco."
*this was a while ago, when the main hazards on rt 101 were stray Pterodactyls...
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Half Moon Bay seems to be the epicenter of artichokes in the U.S.. It is on the Pacific Ocean with lots of fog and overcast. The only other region I know is Brittany, in France, on the coast with lots of fog and over cast. Depending on where you live, misters (in the afternoon) might be a good idea.
We seem to be in a drought at present, here in California (half of the normal rain fall and the reservoirs reduced to mud puddles) but we still have three months to catch up. I may grow just a few stalks of sweet corn this year to keep them adjusting to this region. Otherwise, it looks like a lot of hand watering and I'd best trim some of the drip emitters from my system.
I'd also like to thank everyone who responded to my request for suggestions on dealing with gardening in a drought.
In my searches I came across a graph of water usage by plants and it appears to be a bell curve with light watering leading to heavy (subjective) watering during the middle third of a plants life, and reduced again to low watering at maturity. That, and mulch, and few,if any, plants that require heavy watering is going to be my game plan this summer.
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Ok, greenhousing them here then might be my best bet. In partial shade?
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Artichokes need sun but they don't need the heat. You can still get a sunburn at the beach on an overcast day. Maybe a greenhouse with walls that start at 8" off the ground and stop 8" short of the roof. Chimney effect would suck in cooler air of the ground and vent it out the top. May need to water a little around the greenhouse to suppress the heat. It's just an idea. Even so, it doesn't sound like anything to do, if you are in a drought.
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Ok. The greenhouses are on the Northern exposure so don't get South Sunlight. Only East and West. The South side gets good sun but is partially shaded by two HUGE Hackberry trees.
I'm going to put in a greens garden this year on the South side of the house now that I've had masonry work done.
The brother in law owes me yard work for grocery money. <g> I'll put him to work putting in that new raised bed. I have LOTS of good soil out back to be dug.
A few years ago, I had 7 emus and a whole bunch of poultry. (Ducks and chickens). I paid to have over 10 tons of sand put into the pens to control mess and drainage.
So, that topsoil is well sanded and loaded with composted manure. :-)
It's been great for potted stuff so far. I finally gave all the birds away except for one pet emu and 3 ducks. Two of the ducks have been killed by predators so we still just have Arnold the drake, plus Pauli the emu.
I've had her since she was an egg so she was hand raised. Very tame:
http://home.centurytel.net/Katraslink/KathyApollo2.jpg
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Um, you've just irritated a lot of artichoke growers :-)
Castroville is the artichoke capital - rather south of Half Moon Bay though they are certainly grown there.
marcella
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My apologies to the Castrovillians. Thanks for the correction. Castroville isn't on the coast. It is 2 miles inland from the coast.
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I don't believe anyone said it was on the coast :-)
Artichokes are pretty tasty though. It would be fun to try and grow them sometime.
marcella
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I said (implied) that artichokes were grown on the coast when I refered to Half Moon Bay as being the epicenter of artichoke production. As you have clearly shown, artichokes are clearly viable at the distance of a 2,640 yards on flat ground from the coast ;O)

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