Looking for a trouble-free crop that produces well, with little attention, even in poor clay soil? Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, are a wild native to Eastern North America. These hardy members of the sunflower family do not suffer from any disease or insect pests, and will out-compete the most persistent weeds. In June-July brilliant yellow blossoms form, attracting seed eating birds through summer. As the plants mature in late summer, an abundance of tasty edible tubers begin to heave up the soil at the base of the plant. Tubers may be left in the ground and harvested as desired. Frost and cold temperatures do no harm to the tubers, and improves the nutty flavor as well as serving as the best method of storing your crop. In areas where the ground freezes in winter, apply a thick layer of mulch to allow for easy harvest. Tubers left in the ground until spring will sprout a new crop of flowers, and a new crop of delicious sunchoke tubers.
In a location that can be dedicated to this perennial crop, plant 1-2 ounce pieces of tuber, with at least two "eyes", 4 inches deep, 12-18 inches apart, in rows 18-36 inches apart. Deep sandy loam is best, but clay amended with organic matter will produce up to two pounds or more of good quality tuber per plant. 1 pound of tubers yields enough "seed" pieces for approximately 16 plants, and should be planted as soon as the tubers are received. Tubers may be stored at 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit and 90-95% humidity for a short period of time, as long as they are prevented from drying out. (Pack in damp sand or peat moss).
Jerusalem artichokes are rich in potassium and have no starch if consumed fresh after harvest, making them an ideal food crop for those on a low carbohydrate diet, including diabetics. Eaten raw as a snack or in salads, as a water chestnut substitute in Asian stir fry, or as a potato substitute in a variety of dishes, this little known food crop is sure to become one of your favorites!
- You are purchasing 1 pound of Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers - Ready to Plant
- Plant in early spring or late fall
- Family: Helianthus tuberosus
- Mature Size: 6’-8’ in Height
- Soil: Deep, sandy loam; grow best in loose, fertile soil
- Hardiness Zone: 3-9
- Sun Exposure: Full Sun
- Characteristics: Perennial, upright, will continue to spread year after year unless all tubers are removed from the ground
- Ripens/Harvest: Early to mid-fall; 4+ months
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Spacing: 18-24” between plants; 3-4’ between rows