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Harvest: Allow several artichoke heads to dry out for seed saving. Artichoke heads vary in the number of seeds they contain, so it's a good idea to collect seeds from several heads. Once heads with flowers are completely dry, cut them from the plant.
Extract seeds: Break open artichoke flower to access the seeds. Be cautious during this process, artichokes are a thistle and can poke your fingers. Seeds can be found attached to the pappus at the center of the flower (reminiscent of a dandelion head). Remove seeds. Keep only large seeds that are hard when squeezed between your fingers.
Dry: Allow seed to dry for several weeks in a cool and dry location.
Label and Store: Place in a container and store in a cool and dry place. Properly stored artichoke seeds can remain viable for 5 years.
Artichokes are perennials that do best in mild climates - the plants will not survive temperatures below 20 degrees F. Some recommend starting seeds indoors in late winter, where they will germinate within a week. Plants can be moved outdoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost. Artichokes do well with a soil pH between 6.5-7.0. They thrive in partial sun. Artichokes require 500 feet of isolation from other amaranth varieties to ensure seed integrity.
Sources: https://toads.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/artichoke-seed-harvest/ ; http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vegetables/growing-artichokes-zw0z1312zsto.aspx ; Lannotti, Marie. The Beginner's Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables. Through Google books)
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