Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Quest for the Homegrown Artichoke, part 3

Quick update on the artichoke saga:  Part 1 was the selection and planting, Part 2 was the death of the first batch of seedlings (mice) and replanting

Every year I like to experiment with a vegetable that I haven't grown before, and this year the lucky veggie was the artichoke.  A variety called "Imperial Star" was selected that reportedly tends to behave like an annual and make a "choke" in one season rather than two seasons.  The artichokes were planted and grew very well in the garden, but after a full summer in the garden, "no chokes"! 

Plan B will be implemented, carrying this experiment into yet another season.  I've read to let the plants go through the first hard killing frost, which is predicted for this weekend, then the tops are cut back to about a foot tall and a heavy mulch is applied.  I'm going to use a thick mulch of leaves then cover with hoops and a frost blanket, then a piece of plastic to keep everything dry.  Artichokes are hardy to 20 degrees and around here it gets below that many times during the winter, so if they don't make it, there will be one more part to this series, to be called "How to Kill 30 Artichoke plants"----OR there will be several more parts with recipes for how to prepare artichokes.  Let's hope for the latter!


Saving Tomato Seeds

I've always been interested in saving seeds of vegetables that aren't hybrids.  Tomatoes have got to be one of the favorite crops grown in any garden. General instructions on saving tomato seeds include the words "ferment" which is a little scary to me--that's the last step before "rot"!

A friend of mine eased my fears from saving tomato seeds last year.  All you do is get a clean paper towel, cut the tomato, and SMEAR the seeds onto the paper towel.  If you can space them out a little bit, that works great because when you're ready to germinate the seeds, all you do is "plant" the paper towel and voila!  Tomato plants :)

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