I’ve been a gardener for over 50 years, having been raised on a farm in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. One vegetable we didn’t grow there is one of my favourites – the globe artichoke. When Norma and I moved to the south shore of the Province in 1980, I made a new garden, and tried growing artichokes of my own. The experiment worked, and so for 40 some years now, I’ve played with various attempts to grow the wonderful buds that taste so good.
Artichokes are native to Greece and Italy, but are grown commercially in California. One thing those places have in common is the heat, and the arties seem to like fog too. Last year I planted 4 artichoke plants in my little 20x20 garden and got 20 some buds. This summer has been warm and foggy, but not as sunny, so I probably won’t match that output with the 4 plants I put out this summer, but the buds do look bigger than last year, if not as numerous.
It's great fun to go beyond the normal beans, peas and so on that we commonly plant in Nova Scotia and try for a different vegetable. The fact it happens to be my favourite, is a bonus and explains the passion that is required to nurse the seeds from mid-winter planting in February, through the seedlings transplanted in June and protected from frost, to the maturing in mid-August – all to get a handful of buds. But those buds, pressure cooked and served with butter...oh my, the effort is worth it!