Jerusalem artichoke is the crop least fazed by this crazy, slow-growth summer of cloud and rain. The chokes have been in the ground since May, through the whole thing, and thrived through it all. This bed is right in the middle of the open field, but neither unchecked wind nor nasty hail has set it back. The tallest plants are approaching 8′ (2.4 m), a record for anything in this garden!
8 thoughts on “Soaring chokes”
Do you support your chokes at all? Our sunchokes just seem to fall over all the time. What’s your soil like?
Nat West: Nope, no support. They’re planted in a double row, about 24″ (60cm) apart, with 12″ in-row spacing. The soil is quite heavy clay-loam.
I’ve always wanted to grow artichokes. Where do you get them, what zones do they grow in, and is there any special care for them?
Vickie: Note those aren’t artichokes. Jerusalem artichokes are very different from artichokes.
Mike: How well did the J-chokes sell at the market in the spring? If I can sell them like potatoes I’ll be laughing, but I’m guessing not a lot of people know them well. The great thing about them is that they don’t take any effort to grow. I really like the taste of them, but I haven’t figure out a way around the gas problem yet.
Vickie: Yeah, these are Jerusalem artichokes, totally different from artichokes. JA are rated Zone 5 Canada/Zone 4 US, which is hardy to around -30°F (-35°C), but I imagine it’d grow in areas colder than that. It flowers in fall, but you propagate with pieces of the tuber, not seed, so that’s not a problem. They’re really…care-free! If you click the link in the post, you can see photos of what the edible root looks like.
Chris: I think on one Saturday I sold about 10 lbs in 1 lb units, at $6 per, which is pretty expensive for eating as a potato substitute or whatever, but cheap as seed stock. That’s also relatively really good, since I can sell 30-40 units of popular stuff on a normal good day at our market. People were buying them mostly to both try and plant. If people are buying them every week to eat, I think they might have to be priced lower (unless you’re in a busy, upscale city market), but you could probably sell lots of seed stock if you could reach a wider market, like maybe with an ad somewhere. It’s a great investment for the home garden, buy once, and dig up and replant each year, increasing or decreasing your harvest by how much you plant, according to your needs! I didn’t run into the gas problem, but we were eating in smaller quantities in spring/early summer: raw in salads, and cooked with a bunch of other veggies. This fall, I’ll have a chance to find out for myself, ’cause we’ll have a lot!
It might interest some to know that JA are part of the sunflower family (although mine have never flowered…yet) and therefore native to the prairies. Our First Nations’ people ate them as a staple starch. I’m surprised at the zoning info you found as they are definitely ok here in -40 Manitoba. I just leave some in the ground and they come up every year. I think it would be hard not to leave some in the ground :) I can’t say I love them…yet…
Where can I shop for Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes) in Kansas City, MO??? Are they available at the City Market? I can’t find them in any produce dept. at any grocery store, and I’ve looked everywhere! Likewise, Broccoli Rabe (Raab). Where can I buy them? I am craving both veggies. Thank you