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Here’s when to harvest artichokes and how to re-use ranunculus tubers

By in Press Enterprise on May 19, 2017

By Ottillia "Toots" Bier

Q: How do I know when our artichokes are ready for harvest?

A: Artichokes are usually considered a coastal crop, but many gardens in Inland Valleys can produce nice crops of artichokes, too. As members of the thistle family, the plants can grow quite large, often exceeding three feet across and just as tall. The artichoke itself is actually a giant immature flower bud that will open into a large purple flower if not harvested in a timely manner.

Whether you are growing them along the coast or farther Inland, it is sometimes difficult to determine when to harvest because you want the bud to be as large as possible, but don’t want it to bloom and be wasted.

An artichoke stalk may have a central bud at the top and several side buds along the stalk. The central bud will be the largest and the first that is ready to harvest. As long as the weather remains cool, you can let the buds grow to about the size you see in the grocery store.

If the weather turns hot, you need to harvest promptly, even if they are not full size, as hot weather stimulates the bud to flower. As summer approaches, the buds are less likely to grow to the size you see in grocery stores before they threaten to flower, but they will still be delicious.

Q: My ranunculus tubers have finished blooming and are dying back. Should I leave them in the ground or dig them up?

A: Ranunculus tubers are planted in the late fall and produce colorful flowers for garden borders and for cutting, too. If you were to leave the tubers in irrigated ground through the summer, the tubers would most likely rot. Consequently, many gardeners don’t bother digging them up and treat ranunculus as annuals, planting new […]    

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