Look Out Monster Jerusalem Artichoke Devours Garden Whole


Besides weeds and a goldenrod stronghold, Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) aka Sunchoke was one of the few plants we inherited when we moved here. At that time, only dead stems remained and I didn’t know which member of the sunflower family it was.

In the spring, I picked up a few naughty stems and the treacherous tubers came out of the ground with them. My first thought was: “Juhu, eat a surprise!and my second was, “Oh, shit.”

For those who are not familiar, a little background. Jerusalem artichoke is a plant from the sunflower family that grows edible tubers resembling artichokes, hence its name. Tubers are often used as “healthier” substitutes for potatoes because they have a lower glycemic index. For this reason, you will often see them on sale in health food stores, and if you want to grow the plant, I suggest you go first as a local source of tubers rather than buying online. These plants are so easy to grow. If you have problems with growing potatoes, you will not have any problems with Jerusalem artichoke. They grow up themselves.

And now for the bad news. This plant is persistent. You will never get rid of it if you have it. Never. Never. No. Really.

I grew this plant in a large trash can in the roof garden, and even though I knocked over the container to extract the tubers, I was never able to extract the smallest pieces from the ground. Every spring he came back in full force. It was in a container. Imagine what you can do in the ground.

And I’m here today. It’s after summer and my plants have more than 2 floors. I would measure them, but they are so large that I don’t know how to accomplish this feat. They are definitely bigger than the original trunks that were here when we moved in last year. They overtook him and the clothing line that we installed. And then some. I can only blame the care (watering, pruning, etc.).), as well as the duck manure that I put in the ground in the spring for their dominance.

Jerusalem artichoke tastes better if it has been pecked by the cold. I’m going to dig mine up after the fall, as soon as a hard frost has come, but before the ground freezes. I will probably give a lot, because I foresee an abundance that is too much for 2 people without suffering from gastrointestinal discomfort (sun shocks are often called “Farticock” for a reason). And then, in the spring, I will draw the excess, which will inevitably try to spread into the distance.

I will not be as attentive and generous next Season. It’s a promise.

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