Gardening Tips for Seedy Characters: Week 40

What to do this week

Gardening is a year-round pleasure, or obsession, depending on how hard you have fallen. There is always something to do, whether it be preparing for winter, preparing for spring, preparing for summer…you get the picture. This time of year, most gardeners are busy between the end of the harvest and the beginning of putting the garden to bed properly for winter.

Michelle is out this week but I (Madeline) have my own urban garden and my current project is digging up my globe artichoke plants and attempting to over-winter them in the basement. I don’t have the science behind me that Michelle does, but I am curious and stubborn and always up for trying something new.

Last year, I pulled the plants and disposed of them as I did the other large, compost material — I filled the green bin each week until it was all gone, then picked up compost from the CBRM in return. But earlier this year, I stumbled upon the fact that globe artichokes are perennial, or at least, they are in more hospitable climates. Apparently, the plants produce much better from the second year on, so we who grow them as annuals are missing the best part. Then I discovered the possibility of digging them up, perhaps potting them up, and housing them in the basement through the winter. So this week, this is exactly what I did. I happened to have five nice-sized pots that I had used a few years back for pepper plants that were perfect for the experiment.

Of course, I also ran my plan past Michelle, who chuckled quite a bit at me, then explained that globe artichokes have root tubers so I didn’t have to bother potting them —  I could have simply dug up the root tubers, wrapped them in burlap or peat moss, and put them someplace in the basement, being sure to keep them moist as they over wintered there.

The repotting may not have been necessary, but since I don’t have peat moss, or burlap, let’s just see how they do. I have never let a lack of resources stop me before, so hopefully my globe artichoke tubers are just like me, stubborn and unwilling to give up!




Market gardener, farmer, workshop leader, seed-saver, political candidate and mother, Michelle Smith has spent over 30 years coping with the challenges of our bioregion and in the process has built a store of practical and technical knowledge. The Inverness resident has served on the board of Seeds of Diversity Canada and represented Alternative Producers with the Federation of Agriculture but can do nothing about her hair. She is pictured with a head of Club Wheat, a seed that shares her approach to hairdressing.




Backyard food gardener Madeline Yakimchuk caught the food-security bug in the early ’90s through Cuba’s Urban Agriculture Department, taking her first permaculture course and planting her first garden. She can often be found discussing food security, nurturing a plant-based lifestyle or trying to give away vegetables. Professionally, she is GRYPHON media productions but sometimes uses la bruja in her volunteer work, most notably in managing the garden column, which begins life as a telephone interview.





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