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Growing Jerusalem Artichokes, also Sunchoke

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                    P P

(Best months for growing Jerusalem Artichokes in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Plant tubers about 5cm (1.5") deep.. Best planted at soil temperatures between 46°F and 59°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 12 - 18 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-20 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Tomatoes, cucumbers
  • Artichoke harvest
    Artichoke harvest

These are the edible root of a sunflower. Plant the tubers deep enough to cover with soil. They are quite drought-tolerant, but keep well-watered to grow larger tubers. They grow through the summer to 1.5m-tall sunflowers with a smallish flower. Dig up the tubers when the flowers die down in autumn.

Get a couple of tubers from the supermarket or fruit shop. Two years after planting you will probably have enough to give away. Perennial, if you don't manage to harvest all the tubers - they will regrow year after year.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Jerusalem Artichokes

Scrape clean or peel (add a tsp of lemon or vinegar to the water to stop the tubers browning). Steam, boil, or use in artichoke soup (make with artichokes and some stock). Caution - because they contain 'resistent starch' Jerusalem Artichokes are a great promoter of flatulence in some individuals.

Your comments and tips

13 Dec 10, Scott (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
VERY invasive, but we do have them here for sale in our community gardens
01 Sep 12, Heather (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I promise they will grow. My tips - to harvest them only one plant at a time - or 'bandicoot' a few tubers from the side. Really fresh tubers - I mean today's - don't need peeling, just scrub. When replanting, save the smoothest tubers. I kept them going for four or five generations and managed to get an easy-peel strain going. If you have too many [and who doesn't?] goats love the tops and chickens love the tubers. Eating toast with artichoke soup tends to reduce the anti-social after-effects. Warning! If you leave a whole plant in the ground from year to year, it will still grow but you will end up with amazingly complex unpeelable tubers.
10 Jul 13, Nicole Masters (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Does anyone know where i can source bulk tubers from? thanks Nicole
31 Aug 13, Selina (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It depends what you mean by bulk. I have just bought a kilo on Trade Me from a lady in Napier.
16 Jun 16, Andrée Prentice (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a surplus of organic grown Jerusalem artichockes. What would be a reasonable price per 500gr if I sold the at the local growers' market ? Thanks for your help' Andrée
20 Jan 17, Jackie Klever (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live in Ahipara, 90 Mile Beach. Where can I buy the seeds or seedlings? Cannot find any up here.
15 Feb 17, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I bought mine off the internet.
17 Feb 17, Deborah Wells (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I've been growing these for some years now and am a huge fan. Absolutely LOVE them. So do my chickens, turkeys, horses, sheep, cattle and dogs. All except dogs will eat tops and tubers. Dogs only eat the tubers. Cats don't much care for any part of them tho. Cooking tips: I like them best roasted. Cut into 1" x 1" (2cm x 2cm) or so, put on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive or coconut oil, salt, pepper maybe a little basil or rosemary. Roast at 350F (180C) for 25 - 40 min. They come out about the same consistency as roasted garlic - almost like a paste. Use on a nice cracker with a small slice of cream cheese. Side with a glass of a nice, oaky Chardonnay, a good movie and a sexy friend. I'm done. Night, night. Growing tips: don't do anything to them except give them water and some good manure. If you want to get fancy, cut off the flowers and put them in a vase in the kitchen. (Stripping the flowers puts more energy into the tuber production.) Ungrowing tips: If you want to get rid of them, mow them off once a week and don't water. Turn out pigs or chickens. They will dig up every living morsel and consume it. CAUTION! Do NOT use a rototiller on them. It cuts the tubers into microslices and only encourages them to propagate. Enjoy your sunchokes. They are a gift from the gods.

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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