Sunday, May 30, 2010

Perennial Artichokes

Pity my severely neglected garden.  Between Dad's illness and two new kids, I've barely paid it any attention. I planted about half of the things I intended to plant; everything has been planted a little bit late; weeds have taken over most of the beds; watering has been sporadic.

Fortunately, the weather has been just a about perfect this spring and summer -- lots of rain, sunny, no cruel heat waves just yet.  And our soil is in great shape from several years of turkey manure amendments and mountains of compost.  Best of all, the permaculture beds are pretty much taking care of themselves.  So far, I've found a few plants that are either more or less perennial or reliably reseed themselves in our climate:  cilantro, basil, kale, leeks, chard, and several lettuces.  It doesn't sound like much but add a few easy-to-grow varieties of squash, tomatoes, peppers, and such, and we've had a more than adequate harvest this summer, with hardly any attention to the garden.

It's only recently that I realized artichokes would love our climate.  And they do love it!  We had a couple of hard freezes last year that I thought had killed them off.  But the original two plants came right back, more vigorous than ever.  And those that I let go to seed sent their babies to the original bed and all over the surrounding field.  Where once we two artichokes are now about fifteen healthy plants.

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