Now Sowing: Artichoke (September–November)

Common Name:  Artichoke: Green Globe, Purple Romagna

Scientific Name: Cynara scolymus

Seed Saving Level: Advanced


Planting dates for the low desert of Arizona: Start seeds indoors: October 15 – January 15

Plant seeds outside: November – Dec. 15th

Plant transplants outside:  January 15 – March

The plants’ growth will take off in the spring, and should begin producing bulbs in April or May each year.


When is the perfect time to harvest artichokes? When the bottom bud scales begin to separate from the base of the bulb, it is time to harvest! Buds should be harvested while tight and firm, and around 3 inches in diameter. To harvest, cut the stem 2-3 inches below the bud with a sharp knife. Store harvested buds in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Seed Saving:  

The unharvested buds mature into brilliantly colored flowers. Harvest the seeds from dried blooms if desired.



Provencal-Style Braised Artichokes


2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice

8 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

2 pounds baby or small artichokes, trimmed, peeled and quartered lengthwise, any choke removed


Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the artichokes, salt, and pepper. Add the wine and enough water to barely covet the artichokes, about 1 cup. Add the thyme, the bay leaf, and the parsley stems if using.

Cover the pot and cook, stirring halfway through cooking, until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a paring knife, 15 to 18 minutes. Pull the artichokes from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a serving bowl. Pick out and discard the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and parsleystems.

Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer the cooking liquid, uncovered, until it reduces by half and thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.

 Serve the artichokes as a dish with a reduced juice or spoon them over bowls of Creamy Parmesan Polenta and drizzle the juice over the top.


The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini

By Cara Mangini