We have tried to grow artichokes at least twice in the last five years, without success. We understood that artichokes required a lot of heat and sunlight to grow; we suspected that our garden just wasn't warm enough. That didn't explain why the artichokes in the demonstration gardens of the Chicago Botanical Gardens seemed to thrive.
This year, we gave artichokes another shot, planting a few starts in the "dodecahedron" bed in the northeast corner of the garden. By June, the starts had grown to the point where they usually stopped in our garden.
In early August, some of the artichoke blooms started to turn purple and open. We had to consult sources to determine when was the best time to harvest these unexpected vegetables; we'd never gotten this far before.
We harvested the largest of the artichokes and brought them to the pantry, hoping that someone there would know how to prepare them.
In early September, we were able to harvest a second round of artichokes.
Artichokes are perennial plants; now that ours are established in the dodecahedron bed, we can expect another harvest of globes next year.