After waiting for three years my artichoke plants are finally producing! I am so excited. A few days ago I noticed a tightly bundled leaf section in the middle of my plants, so I had a peek inside, and ta dah!, there they were. One large in the middle and as it grew for a few days I noticed two small off shoots with heads as well. The plant next to it is doing the same.
For me, it is like my adult version of cabbage patch kids. Remember those? I have been nursing those plants for three years and finally I am getting babies. I thought the whole thing was not going to happen. My artichoke plants have been covered with ants and flies, but no damage was being done, so I looked it up and of course the root of the problem was aphids that I had not noticed. Isn't it always aphids...or slugs! Anyway, the ants were herding the aphids and milking them for the honeydew secretions and the flies were using the ants. Nasty little symbiotic bug world! But I did just as the Master Gardener told me and waited it out to see if it cleared a little before adding any kind of pesticide, organic or not, to my problem. Sure enough, within a week, the lady bugs came in and saved the day. Go ladybugs! They are eating the aphids so the ants have mostly moved on.(they were really big red ants by the way, but seemed to have no interest in biting)