Artichokes may be a viable crop option for Florida growers, according to a UF/IFAS researcher.
Florida is one of the most diverse states for growing crops, and it produces a number of them. From citrus to watermelon and corn to tomatoes and peppers, there are few fruits or vegetables that can’t be raised in The Sunshine State. Artichokes have been one of those vegetables that just doesn’t like the humidity that is part of Florida’s tropical climate. One UF/IFAS researcher believes he has found an option to make artichokes a viable and lucrative crop for Florida growers, according to a Growing Produce article. Read about it below.
Artichoke Options for Florida Growers
Artichokes are mainly grown in California. According to the article, California grows 99 percent of the country’s artichokes as it’s cooler climate is better-suited to what the artichoke plants need. Shinsuke Agehara, a UF/IFAS Assistant Professor of Horticultural Sciences, presented the findings of his year-long study into raising the crop at the Florida State Horticultural Society in early June in Tampa.
According to the article, Agehara maintained that Florida growers could raise about 6,000 pounds of the thistle plant using “a natural plant hormone called gibberellic acid to maximize growth.” In comparison, California growers produce about 13,500 pounds an acre. They require about 250 to 500 hours below 50 degrees to flower—similar to chill hours needed for peaches or blueberries—so the process must be induced by growers.
“Once we optimize the hormone application rate, I think we can increase the yield closer to the commercial yield in California,” Agehara said in the article. Retail-wise, a single artichoke can cost up to $5, making the thistle plant a lucrative option.
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