Perennial globe artichokes wintered in low tunnels
Our project is investigating if globe artichokes can be wintered over in a low tunnel, and grown as a perennial crop in the New England area. Globe artichokes produce many buds, which are the edible portion of the plant, when they are grown as a perennial. We believe that this could increase the revenue for local farmers, since artichokes are not a labor intensive crop and are a high end crop that would be a unique offering at a farmers market.
Joan Jackson (owner) and Janel Martin (daughter/employee) started the project off by starting the globe artichokes by seed. The plants grew well through the season and even produced a good crop of artichokes. Many customers asked about the plants and we were able to speak with some local farmers about our project. We were surprised by the interest from our customers, who expressed interest in buying artichokes.
Seven varieties of globe artichokes were started from seed on May 23, 2014. Most of the varieties had good germination, only one heirloom variety from Italy did not perform well at all, and only had a 10% germination rate. On May 6, 2014, the seedlings were transplanted into 4 inch perennial pots using a combination of ProMix HP and Vermont Compost using a 50/50 ratio. They were also fertilized at this time using 1 tablespoon of granular fertilizer mixed in with the potting medium in each pot. We moved the transplants out of the greenhouse on May 8 to a small greenhouse that is unheated. May 12 the plants were moved outside the greenhouse to vernalize them to encourage the globe artichokes to bud in the same year.
The plants were placed in the ground in four randomized plots in four separate areas of the gardens on May 28. Each hole was dug to a depth of 12 inches, a pint of peat moss and ¼ cup of ProGro organic granular fertilizer was placed in each hole and mixed in with the soil. The holes were placed three feet apart, each plot had three rows, with a total of 26 holes in each plot. Each plot measured six feet by 24 feet. The plants were sprayed with Spinosad to treat for Aphids on June 11 and we top dressed with fertilizer on June 27, August 23 and September 30. The plants were stumped to the ground and covered with mulch and placed under low tunnels with Agribon 50 on December 10. Data loggers and rodent traps were placed under each low tunnel and they were secured for the winter season.
The edible buds were harvested throughout the late summer and early fall, approximately every week from August 8 to September 30. The total weight harvested was 58.54 pounds and the total number of buds was 325. Two varieties produced very well, Imperial Star produced 29.29 pounds and Opera produced 24.90 pounds. The Opera variety produces a very nice purple bud, which would stand out at a farmers market and adds a nice color contrast to the traditional green artichoke. There was one variety that did not produce in the first year. All of the plants were beginning to produce side shoots by the end of the summer. These are all of the additional shoots that will produce buds next year. We are looking forward to the yield next year, if each of these offshoots produces like the main stalk did this year after our overwintering technique is tested.
University of New Hampshire
264 James Hall
Durham, NH 03824
Office Phone: 6038622724
Owner 4J’s Earthworks
4 Old Wakefield Road
Rochester, NH 03868
Office Phone: 6033325201