Wintering over artichokes

I have raised 4 artichoke plants to a size about 2 to 3 feet across, from leaf tip to leaf tip. This was a strain that had the possibility of maturing in one long growing season, or taking the standard 2 years to grow mature enough to bear fruit.
Here's my question: The winters here (zone 6) rarely get below 0 degrees (F)... Lots of winters, the temp never dips below the low 20s or high teens. I hope (fingers crossed) that these temps are "high" enough so these plants will survive and go on to mature next year.
In order to winter them over, should I cut them back before I lay on a thick cover of straw, or should I just cover them as is, leaves and all?
Thanks for any help.
Mark
P.S. I'm gardening in raised beds, with a fairly good mix of topsoil to compost. Is there any particular additions/fertilizers that artichokes really "like"?
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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Mark) wrote in message

Anyone? Bueler?

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Mark said:

All I can tell you is to not get your hopes up. I grew artichokes from seed twice. The #1 tip for getting artichokes the first year is to start the seeds *very* early and get the plants outside to experience some light frosts. This process will 'vernalize' the plants (make them think they overwintered).
As for keeping them overwinter in a zone 6 garden, it didn't happen here (mulched with leaves) either time. The artichokes I harvested were much superior in flavor to those available in the store, but smaller.
I think your best bet would be to build a cover over them (like a large cold frame or small hoop house). Then you would have to watch for the soil drying out under the cover. And you might have to start opening it as the sunshine increases in potency in late February.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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Could they be grown in pots and brought in for the winter? Or do they get too big?
Regards, Dianna _______________________________________________ To reply, please remove "fluff" from my address.
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Dianna Visek said:

They get pretty big. And they do need to experience some cooler weather during the winter, so you shouldn't bring them into a heated building. (Based on my limited experience and reading.)
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Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Mark) wrote in message

Well, I cut them all back to a ball about 8" across. I mulched them heavily with straw and leaves.
I guess I'll let you all know in about 4-5 months if they survived the winter.
If this works, I'll try to continue this process and keep them going as perennials. (Fat chance, but it don't hurt to dream, does it?)
Mark
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