January 2012 I started these plants from seeds on a whim. I thought it would be cool to grow something really different for me. Last year, their first year, I just watched them and did not harvest any. That made me realize I needed to know how to tell when they are ripe and what to do when they are ready for harvest. Many cooking recipes suggest you cook the artichoke whole, however I prefer a method I found in Sunset magazine where you cut it in quarters and scoop out the fuzzy choke before cooking. That speeded up cooking and made eating easier.