Growing Artichokes and Asparagus


The Jerusalem and Chinese artichokes are roots, grown from tubers, which are planted 6 and 3 in. deep respectively, in early spring. They are lifted and stored in October. These artichokes can be grown as a wind screen along one end of the plot.

Globe Artichokes are the unopened flowerheads of a perennial plant of not unattractive appearance. Plants should be bought in early April, and set in rich soil. The first season’s flowerheads should not be allowed to form, but after that the plants send up many stems annually, and crop for six or seven years. Grow these in the part of the kitchen garden reserved for permanent crops.

Asparagus is another permanent crop. A well-made asparagus bed will last for a quarter of a century without disturbance, though annual dressings of animal manure are required. The soil should be very deeply dug-2 or 3 ft.—and well manured. Beds 4 ft. wide, with a beaten soil track between them are best. Set the plants in rows 18 in. apart, and cover the crowns with 4 in. of soil. Do not cut any shoots until the plants are well established. If one-year plants are set out, wait for two years before cutting. (There are certain strains now sold which the growers claim to be fit to cut the first season after planting.) When the tops turn colour in autumn, cut them down and top dress the bed with old manure. In March use artificial fertilizer, made by mixing two parts sulphate of potash, two parts nitrate of soda, three parts superphosphate and six parts agricultural salt, at the rate of three ounces to the square yard.

Plants can be raised from seed sown in a greenhouse or frame in March or outdoors in May, but it is better to purchase two-year-old roots early in April. These will start to crop two years after planting. Plant 15 in. apart in rows 15 in. apart. Common practice is to make beds 4 ft. wide containing three rows each raised above ground level to improve winter drainage, or plants may be grown on the flat 15 in. apart in rows 31 ft. apart and after two years soil is drawn over the plants as when earthing up potatoes. Either way, soil must be deeply dug and liberally manured. Top dress each March with short, welltrotted manure or hop manure. Do not cut after the middle of June but allow plants to make foliage, which should be cut off above soil level at the end of October.