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Growing Jerusalem Artichoke

Growing Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes item #04524

Description

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus, also called “sunchoke”) is a hardy perennial vegetable  native to North America. It is a species of sunflower  cultivated primarily for its knobby underground starchy stems, which can be cooked like a potato, sliced and eaten raw in salads, pickled, or lightly sautéed in butter. The tubers are rich in inulin, making them a good food for diabetics. The plants also make a good windbreak for tender crops, and stalks can be stripped of leaves and dried to make stakes for supporting pole beans the following season.

How To Plant

Plant Jerusalem artichokes in full sun in any well-drained soil. Plant whole tubers or cut larger ones into pieces with 2 or 3 eyes. Dig a furrow 4 inches deep, plant a tuber every 12 to 18 inches, and cover. Space rows about 3 feet apart. When the shoots emerge, mound the soil up around the plants as in hilling potatoes.

After harvesting in fall, some smaller tubers can be replanted to produce a crop the following season.

Maintenance

Jerusalem artichokes are vigorous growers and may reach 10 feet or more in height. The plants can be cut back if desired to promote branching, reduce height, and discourage flowering. Soil can be mounded around the plants as they grow, to provide additional room for the developing tubers.

Jerusalem artichokes store easily over the winter, and they keep well both in the ground and in a cellar. Harvest tubers in late fall, after the first frost. When digging, use a sharp shovel or spading fork to remove the center clusters under the stalk bases. This way you can free the clustered tubers of most of the encumbering soil, making cleaning easier. Store the harvested tubers in a cool place or freeze them.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Jerusalem artichokes are moderate feeders and benefit from fertilization. Use a fertilizer higher in phosphorous than nitrogen, like ALGOplus Flowering Plant 4-6-7 liquid fertilizer or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1.

Common Problems

Jerusalem artichoke is generally free from pest and disease problems. Japanese beetles may feed on the leaves. Deer may eat the shoots. Because the tubers will overwinter in the ground, this plant has the potential for becoming a weed. Plant where unwanted spreading can be controlled.

Alternative Products

Other perennial vegetables are asparagus, horseradish, and rhubarbPotatoes and sweet potatoes are other root crop vegetables.

Product Recommendations

Use Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew to control Japanese beetles and other insect pests if they attack plants.

Jerusalem Artichoke Facts

Jerusalem artichoke was used as a food plant by Native American tribes. It was introduced to France in the early 1600s and became a commonly used crop for human and livestock food. The way this plant received the common name "Jerusalem" is uncertain. One theory is that Italian settlers called the plant girasol (sunflower in Italian) artichoke, and this name was corrupted into Jerusalem artichoke.

 

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