Just before the rains earlier this month, I planted two artichoke seedlings. I grew them from seed purchased from Botanical Interests, and they were looking hearty enough to go into the garden bed. Plus, I figured the rains would help them get established.
Taking a tip from Eric at Ramshackle Solid, I dug a deeper hole than I usually would and then filled it up with compost. Eric mentioned that artichokes can have a 4 foot long tap root, so they need as much room to grow down as they do to grow up. I don't think I dug nearly deep enough, but hopefully the artichokes will dig the rest of the way on their own.
I also put up a ridiculous barricade around the artichoke seedlings to protect them from the evil claws of our local skunks and the curious beaks of certain chickens. So far, the barricades--made from tomato cages--have held and the seedlings are growing.
I will be so happy if we get to harvest fresh artichokes this Spring. I remember the smell of artichoke fields along the Northern California coast when I was in college, and it was amazing. Perhaps we'll have a bit of that scent in our yard next year.