Sunday, March 12, 2006

Artichokes

A friend and I are taking on the challenge of trying to raise artichokes this summer. It's a challenge because we live in Massachusetts. In a warmer climate they are a perennial and produce buds the second year. Our climate is too cold for them to winter over so we have to trick them into thinking that two seasons go by in one season. They need a period of vernalization where they have a certain number of hours of cold temperatures. We discovered we can vernalize the seeds in the refrigerator or naturally vernalize the plants outside in cool temperatures. We started with a package of 25 seeds. I took 10 and planted 8. My friend divided the rest into two groups. One group she planted and one group of seeds is vernalizing in the refrigerator. Natural vernalization is supposed to produce more buds, but vernalizing in the refrigerator is more controlled. When vernalizing outside, its possible to not have enough cool temperatures or to freeze the plants or to break vernalization if it gets too hot. Friday two of my seeds started to sprout. Today I decided to document the event. Below you can see one of the tiny sprouts. You can even see the strand of a web that I couldn't see until I looked at the closeup photo.

After the photo shoot I went to move the cell pack back to its place and managed to drop it. I suppose I should be happy that I only lost 1/2 of one of the two seed leaves. It could have been worse. I really think sometimes it's possible to pay too much attention a plant, too much fussing, photographing, and moving. I think I'd better go plant those 2 backup seeds I was saving, and I will be reporting back soon on whether a seedling can remain viable after a partial amputation.


2 comments:

  1. I can understand your protective care of your plants. It's like driving a brand new car around. Once you have a scratch, the extra care no longer seems an issue.

    I hope your seedlings survived and will check back to see how they're going.

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  2. I LOVE artichokes!!! So do my kids.

    I read about them when I was planning my garden and decided no way. WAY too much trouble and fussing.

    I will read about your progress and the results of the various vernalization techniques with great interest. If you are successful, I'll steal all your lessons... I mean, I'll leverage off of them ;).

    If I could raise artichokes, I'd be the snizzle... or something hot and fashionable. I can't keep up with what's hip these days.

    Spectacular depth-of-field in that first pic, BTW.

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