Eat Your Yard

My First Artichoke!


my first artichoke

My First Artichoke

Last year, I tried to grow artichokes—got a plant from my go-to herb and tea man, Sabry Alsharkawi of Sharkawi Farms at the Annandale farmer’s market, where I’ve been going for years—nearly 20, I’d guess—but didn’t have a lot of luck, and then with the crazy winter, it didn’t make it. Likely it was that I didn’t do my due dilligence on preparing the soil.

Here in my neck of the woods, it’s a pretty solid clay—which may partly explain the lack of cicadas in my neighborhood. This year, plenty of compost. This morning, I went out to get the newspaper, and there it was, my first artichoke. This is the same kind of plant that I got from Sabry, but got it a month or two before the FM opened.

Came from DeBaggio’s Herbs, as a lot of my plants do. If you’re in the NOVA/DMV area, you owe it to yourself to check them out. They’re not the cheapest in the world, but they certainly are reliably high quality. Several of my raspberry bushes came from there.

This is what DeBaggio’s has to say about this variety: “Cynara scolymus ‘Imperial Star’. 85 days. This is the first artichoke developed for the home gardener. Generally hardy in our area but may need some protection. Plants are easy to grow, reach 3 to 4 feet tall and produce 6 to 8 mature edible buds. Thomas Jefferson grew artichokes at his Montecello home.”

Can’t wait to try them when there are some more (knocking on wood, crossing fingers).

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About Steve, i.e., him

Stephen Stark is an award-winning novelist and bestselling ghostwriter. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, Poets & Writers and in many other journals. He has been a fellow and taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and won an NEA Literature Fellowship in fiction. His novel, Second Son, was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1992, and a New and Noteworthy Paperback of 1994.

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