PITTSBORO, Miss. (WCBI) – Most of us have our gardens planted by now and are enjoying a cornucopia of bell peppers and cherry tomatoes.
You can grow almost anything in Mississippi.
You know about corn, cotton and soy beans, but what about artichokes?
Retired forester Ricky Hegwood and his wife own Pomegranate Nursery in Pittsboro.
He says, ” For gardeners, especially, it’s just a lot of fun trying new things, and try something new. Experiment every year in your garden.”
Last Spring Ricky did a little research into artichokes.
Could this staple of the Mediterranean grow strong in Mississippi?
Ricky remembers, ” We were interested in new plants, and we saw these were rated to be able to be grown in our area, and we didn’t know of anybody that was growing them, so we decided to see if we could produce some ourselves.”
People started taking a closer look at Ricky’s garden.
What were these strange pointy plants poking through the soil?
Ricky says, ” We never did really expect to even have any, but low and behold!”
Turns out our rainy and relatively cool Spring was perfect artichoke weather.
Ricky cautions, ” It may just be because of the weather change, that we’ve been seeing, that we could do it, but we’ll continue to experiment with them and see if we can produce them over the long term.”
As for eating them, just boil your artichokes in salted water for 30-45 minutes, melt a little butter and start peeling away pedals.
It’s one delicious thistle.
Ricky is cautiously optimistic that these flowering plants have found a home in the Magnolia State.
He concludes, ” If it’s a good vegetable that we can grow around here, it will improve our gardens a whole lot.”
That’s definitely food for thought.
Traditionally California has been the only place in America that artichokes are grown in large quantities.