I was hustling into our farmers' market last Saturday with plans to get milk and maybe something green before I had to hustle back out. (A deadline was pulling me back home.)
Zipping in, that's when I saw them: a tray of artichoke seedlings out on the plant peddlars' table. That stopped me in my tracks. I glanced, I looked, I remembered my deadline then continued to the local dairy truck set up at the other end of the block.
With milk in my certified-organic, free-range mesh shopping bag, I stopped to buy fresh broccoli (our own bed was well picked over) and paused here and there before I returned to the plant peddlars'.
Then, I went nuts ... just a little.
I bought four "Green Globe" seedlings. At the time, I considered four plants as restraint. I wanted the entire flat. I chatted with a couple of little old ladies hovering by the table. Yes, they are real. Yes, they grow in South La. Yes, they do fine in the right-sized container.
Cash exchanged for plants ($8, total) and plants in a bag, I was home in plenty of time. I announced to Dr. Spouse that I had a surprise: artichokes. Great.
Where are we going to put them?
Some quick research (the Internet can be useful) showed me I had overreached: ideally, they need 12 to 16 sq. feet EACH. That's a lot of space to dedicate in our raised-bed garden. And, they'll need another year before they bear. I realized that I could squeeze two into a corner spot but what to do with the other two?
I tried give one or two away with little success. Too big, friends said.
Then I had a realization: think outside the box. Or, more accurately, think outside the raised bed.
We've already decided to rip out a bed of yellow flag iris (more on that project in coming weeks) and put in okra. I can plant at least two of the 'chokes outside our bedroom. The bed is raised with good soil, great drainage and full sun. The southern exposure means they'll do great in our mild winters. I just need protect them from trampling dogs.
Now, we've decided to plant a couple of watermelons out front and put more okra in with ornamentals here and there.
Maybe buying too many artichokes wasn't an accident.