How Do You Grow Chinese Artichokes?

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Chinese Artichokes

Growing Chinese Artichokes

Most people have never heard of Chinese artichokes and may even be afraid to grow them. After all, who remembers a vegetable called an artichoke? These are small-leafed, heart-shaped edible thistles that come from the same family as brassicas like broccoli or cabbage. In fact, if you take broccoli and remove its outer leaves, it will look just like an artichoke. The only real difference is that Chinese artichokes grow in the ground while brassicas grow in pots indoors. Growing Chinese artichokes requires a little more effort than other vegetables but the rewards are well worth it. You can harvest the green leaves throughout the year instead of waiting for certain seasons. When grown organically, they also do not require any chemical pesticides or insecticides to control pest problems. These factors make growing Chinese artichokes a great choice for gardeners who value their time over convenience or those with limited space to grow food indoors as well as outside.

Cheatsheet: Growing Chinese Artichokes

Quick Facts:

🔢 Chinese artichokes are a root vegetable also known as Crosnes.

💹 Originated in China with a long history of cultivation.

🌿 Not related to artichokes, but taste similar to Jerusalem artichokes.

Planting and Care:

  • ❕ Plant crosne tubers in the early spring.
  • ❕ Choose well-draining soil and a sunny location.
  • ❕ Space tubers 12 inches apart in rows.
  • ❕ Water consistently, avoiding waterlogging.
  • ❕ Mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture.

Harvesting and Storage:

  • 💪 Harvest tubers before the first frost.
  • 💪 Gently dig them up with a fork or hands.
  • 💪 Rinse off soil and dry them before storage.
  • 💪 Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.
  • 💪 Will keep for several months.

Health Benefits:

  • 🌹 Rich in dietary fiber, promoting healthy digestion.
  • 🌹 Contains vitamins C, B, and minerals like iron and potassium.
  • 🌹 Supports immune function and overall well-being.

Fun Fact:

🥞 Chinese artichokes are a gourmet delight in fine dining circles.

How To Grow Chinese Artichokes From Seed

Chinese artichokes are easily grown from seed but you need a few things ready beforehand. Firstly, the plants should be 3 years old or more before you attempt to harvest the seeds. This is because at that age they will be much too woody to produce seeds. You can also start seedlings from cuttings which is great if you have access to a greenhouse so you don’t have to wait for warm weather to germinate your seeds as with outdoor germination. chinese artichokes have a thick, woody taproot that you do not want to harvest. instead, you want to grow your plants from seeds. unlike other vegetables, your chinese artichokes do not need to be replanted every year. they are the type of crop that can be harvested for the long term. if you grow from seeds, you can harvest the plants every few years and keep harvesting until you run out of seeds. chinese artichoke seeds are tiny and need high temperatures and humidity to germinate. studies show that they are not likely to germinate outdoors in most places. even if you manage to get some seeds to germinate, high temperatures are likely to kill them before they mature. chinese artichokes can be started indoors 6-12 weeks before the last spring frost. chinese artichokes are heat and humidity-loving crops. they need temperatures of at least 70 degrees fahrenheit and humidity levels above 80 percent to grow. you can easily achieve these conditions inside a greenhouse or plastic greenhouse. if you do not have access to a greenhouse, you can grow chinese artichokes from cuttings indoors.

How To Grow Chinese Artichokes From Cuttings

let’s face it, growing from seed is a huge commitment, time-consuming and it may or may not work for you. you can always try growing chinese artichokes from cuttings though. that way, you only commit to a few hundred plants rather than the thousands of seeds it takes to grow an artichoke bed from seed. so all you need to do is to take cuttings from healthy plants 3 years old or more. you can also take leaf cuttings from year-old plants if they are still in good health. place the cuttings into pots filled with rich potting soil (with added compost and aged manure). chinese artichokes do not need to be grown in soil that contains lots of organic matter. instead, you can use soil-less potting mixes. the potting soil needs to be slightly sandy so that the roots can easily penetrate it. you can water your cuttings until they are halfway submerged. the potting soil should be slightly moist. it is best to use a humidifier placed on the pots if you live in an area with low humidity. you can also just let the pots sit in a warm, humid area. this will help to promote good growth. after about 2 weeks, you should see new leaves developing on the cuttings. you can then report your cuttings into 2-inch pots filled with good potting soil.

How To Start An Organic Chinese Artichoke Garden

if you have space in your backyard, you can grow chinese artichokes from seed or by purchasing plants from a nursery or online. but if you have limited space or are not interested in the time commitment, you can start an organic chinese artichoke garden by purchasing plants as cuttings. you can also start an indoor organic chinese artichoke garden by planting the seeds indoors. first, decide which cultivar you want to grow and get a few plants from a local nursery or online. the next step is to pot up any healthy cuttings from the plants to grow as new plants in your garden. make sure the pots have good drainage holes and water them well until they are halfway submerged. you can also use pebbles to improve drainage. place the pots in a sunny location in your garden and water them as needed. you can also use a greenhouse if you do not have a sunny location in your backyard.

Choosing The Right Chinese Artichoke Cultivar For Your Garden

chinese artichoke plants come in many varieties and cultivars. some of these cultivars are more likely to produce edible leaves while others are more suitable for growing as cuttings. you want to choose a cultivar that has edible leaves that are more likely to be woody than leaves that are soft and tender. soft and tender leaves are often the first type of leaves to appear on a plant. they can be eaten but they are also the first to get rotten in your garden and the hardest to harvest. you want to choose a cultivar that has more woody leaves. woody leaves are usually the last type of leaves to get rotten and are the easiest to harvest.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Chinese artichokes?

Chinese artichokes, also known as Crosnes, are root vegetables native to East Asia. They resemble small tubers with a unique nutty flavor.

2. How do I choose the right location for growing Chinese artichokes?

Find a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil, preferably slightly acidic pH for optimal growth.

3. When is the best time to plant Chinese artichokes?

Plant Chinese artichoke tubers in early spring, after the last frost has passed.

4. How do I plant Chinese artichokes?

Plant tubers 2-3 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart, with the pointy end facing upwards.

5. How often should I water Chinese artichokes?

Water Chinese artichokes regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

6. Do Chinese artichokes require fertilizer?

Chinese artichokes are light feeders and generally don't require much fertilizer. However, adding well-aged compost or a balanced organic fertilizer in spring can boost their growth.

7. How long does it take for Chinese artichokes to mature?

Chinese artichokes take approximately 90-120 days to mature. Harvest when tubers reach 1-2 inches in length.

8. How do I harvest Chinese artichokes?

Gently dig around the plants using a small garden fork or hand trowel to avoid damaging the delicate tubers. Harvest the tubers as needed, leaving the rest in the ground for continuous growth.

9. Can I divide Chinese artichoke tubers for propagation?

Absolutely! Divide the tubers in early spring or fall, ensuring each division has several growing points. Replant the divisions immediately.

10. Are there any common pests or diseases that affect Chinese artichokes?

Chinese artichokes are relatively pest and disease-resistant, but keep an eye out for slugs, snails, and fungal issues. Proper sanitation and regular inspection can help prevent problems.

Growing Chinese artichokes from seed or cuttings is not as difficult as it seems. You can grow these vegetables in nearly any climate and soil type as long as you have the right conditions. plenty of sunlight and a little bit of water are all you need to grow organic chinese artichokes from seed or cuttings. if you do not have enough heat or sunlight, you can use a greenhouse or grow chinese artichokes indoors. chinese artichokes are the type of crop that you do not have to replant every year. once you harvest the seeds, you can plant new seedlings every few years until they run out of seeds. you also do not have to repot your plants every year. you can just plant the seedlings in the same pot they were growing in. chinese artichoke plants are very drought tolerant and can withstand hot, dry conditions. they are also very forgiving when it comes down to soil conditions. you can grow these vegetables in almost any type of soil so long as it is well-drained. chinese artichoke plants can be grown from seed and cuttings. the choice of cultivar will depend on your location and your climate. you can also grow chinese artichoke plants from seeds indoors or by planting seedlings in any well-drained soil.

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