Soil Preparation in Artichoke Farming
It is advised to perform a soil analysis before planting your crop in order to have more information concerning your soil status. This will help you plan your fertilization and irrigation schedule, among other things.
The basic soil preparation starts 1-2 months before transplanting the artichokes. Farmers remove any cultivation residues and weeds, followed sometimes by plowing. Farmers may use compost, well-rotted manure (30-50 tons per hectare or 24,281-40,468 lb/acre, incorporated into the top 25 cm or 9.8 in), or basal synthetic commercial fertilizers to enrich soil nutrients and facilitate plant establishment. Some producers prefer to apply fertilizers only across the lines they are going to plant, while others spread them on the entire field. Of course, the first method is more cost-saving and sustainable. After a few days, and if the soil has a proper moisture level, they till the land. Afterward, you can install the drip irrigation pipes and apply soil disinfection substances through the irrigation system if there is a known history of soil infection problems (ask a licensed agronomist in your area).
Artichoke planting distances and number of plants per hectare.
Artichokes are perennial plants with a productive life of 4-7 years. However, some producers treat them as annuals or biennials. Most growers prefer to use transplants created with one of the two asexual propagating methods, using offshoots or root crowns division. Either way, the right time for transplanting is at the end of the spring. If you choose to use seeds, you can sow them into seedbeds in a protective environment and transplant the seedlings to their final position when they have developed more than five true leaves.
After all the preparation steps, we can proceed with transplanting. Planting is usually done semi-manually by people standing on mechanical planters. Growers label the exact point in the soil where they will plant the new plants, and they continue by digging holes and planting the artichokes to a depth of 4-8 inches (10-20) cm.
As for the planting distances, they may differ depending on the artichoke variety, the duration of the crop’s life (e.g., one year), the starting plant material, the environmental conditions, the irrigation system, the market requirements (regarding the head size) and of course the yield goals of the farmer.
A pattern many growers suggest for thornless varieties is to keep: 70 cm to 80 cm (27.5 – 31.5 in) distance between plants on the row and 1.4 m to 1.6 m (4.6-5 ft) distance between rows. Thorny varieties may be planted with greater intrarow distances (up to 1.80 cm or 5.9 ft.). However, the planting distances may vary from 45 cm (for annuals) to 100 cm (18-39 in) within the rows and 61 cm to 300 cm (2 – 9.8 ft) between rows. For thorny varieties, it is suggested to use an 80cm (31.5 inches) distance within the row and a 1.7-1.8 m (5.6-6 ft) distance between rows. Generally, it is preferred to plant thorn varieties at greater distances because they tend to develop up to three times larger leaf surface than the thornless varieties. Following these patterns, we will plant around 7,000 to 11,000 plants per hectare (3,300-4,500 plants per acre). However, in some cases, a lower planting density of 2,500 plants per hectare (1,000 plants/acre) might be preferred to obtain larger artichokes.
(1 hectare = 2.47 acres = 10,000 square meters).
Bekheet, S., & Sota, V. (2019). Biodiversity and medicinal uses of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) plant. Journal of Biodiversity Conservation and Bioresource Management, 5(1), 39-54.
Soil Preparation and Planting in Artichoke Farming