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D.T. Drost, N. Philips and N. Thomsen

Artichoke, a cool-season, frost-tolerant, but freeze-sensitive, crop, was investigated for annual production in Utah. The objectives were to assess the effects of alternative cropping methods on growth and productivity. Artichoke (`Imperial Star') was seeded in January or February and grown for 3 months before transplanting to the field. Plants were planted in bare soil, through plastic mulch or through plastic with floating rowcovers in April or May. Plant growth (leaf area), environmental conditions, and yield (number, weight, and quality) were monitored throughout the year. Planting date and mulching treatments had a significant effect on plant growth and productivity. Leaf area was greatest at all measurement dates as temperature adjacent to the plant increased (plastic with cover > plastic > bare soil). Early planting had greater yield than late planting regardless of mulching treatment. There was no difference in final yield between the plastic mulch and plastic plus cover at early plantings, although yields were higher than in bare soil. However, late planting through plastic with rowcovers significantly reduced bud yields compared to bare soil or black plastic only. While higher temperatures associated with plastic and rowcovers increased plant growth, increased temperatures under covers after the May planting date devernalized artichoke seedlings, which contributed to the lower yields late in the season.