Many gardeners turn to the same list of suspects every spring–tomatoes, squash, maybe some herbs. All of which is fine, but, can get a little boring.

One of the advantages of the community gardens is that we’re able to try new things out. We then record our successes (and failures) so that others might be able to learn from them. Something we’re trying for the first time this year is artichokes.

Artichokes are a type of thistle that produces a large flower. Here’s what wvgardenguru has to say:

“Artichokes are an interesting looking plant. Not only could they go in the vegetable garden, but they can also find a place in the landscape as well. The tall plants boast spiky, silver-green leaves that add an interesting color to the garden. The artichokes are actually large flower buds that sit atop long stems.

Artichokes are thistles, just like the ones you see growing wild. If you don’t harvest them when they are immature, they go on to bloom out into an attractive purple thistle flower. In protected areas (or if you mulch well), artichokes can grow here as perennials. Because some varieties don’t produce flower buds in their first year, you may want to consider a variety that produces in the first year just in case it gets killed out by winter cold.”

We’ll see how our’s does this year. If you want to stop by and see a real live (hopefully) artichoke plant, swing by the gardens.