A Complete Guide to Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

 A Complete Guide to Growing Jerusalem Artichokes

The first thing you should know about Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) is that they're not Jerusalem artichokes—they're actually native to North America and in the sunflower plant family, whatever that may be. Edible tuberous roots.

Another thing is that these plants, also known as sunchokes, can be invasive, spreading by both tubers and seeds. So, before you plant some herbs, read all of our planting instructions below to learn how to prevent them from taking over your entire garden.

Jerusalem artichoke is easy to grow.

Jerusalem artichoke is easy to grow. These are low-maintenance plants that can thrive in many different climates and conditions (commonly grown in USDA Growing Zones 3 through 9). The longer the growing season, the more tubers you will have. Here is a step by step guide to help you develop your own potential:

Buy your tubers from a trusted source, or consult a friend if you know someone who already grows them. If given the chance to pick, pick tubers that are firm, healthy, with at least one or two eyes and no green (ordering them online won't let you pick, though local ones are often your only recourse if they aren't available.)

Early spring is the ideal time to plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers since the ground has warmed up and there is no longer any risk of frost. But first, choose an area where you can do one of two things: control growth (see below), or allow your plants to grow freely (if you're limited on space, control growth).
Although it may take some light shadow, full sun is ideal for growing Jerusalem artichokes. When it comes to soil, the only requirement is that it be fertile and well drained. Soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8 is ideal, so be prepared to change the soil if it is outside of this range. If the water in your garden is standing, avoid planting it there.

Loosen the topsoil, then add some organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to the soil to improve soil fertility and aid drainage.

Dig holes or trenches 4-6 inches deep and place the tubers with their eyes facing up. Space them 12-18 inches apart in rows 3-4 feet apart. Fill holes or trenches with soil, covering the tubers completely.

Water the plants well and water them regularly during the growing season. These plants can tolerate some drought, but regular watering will promote better tuber development.

Plants will not usually need additional fertilizer, especially if you add organic matter to the soil. However, if your soil is particularly poor or sandy, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer when planting.
The last thing your plants need is to compete for water and nutrients, so always keep the area around you weed-free, being careful not to damage the shallow root system.
You can harvest your harvest, usually in late fall or early winter, after the plant's leaves have died off. Next, carefully lift the tuber out of the soil with a garden fork. Remember what I said about them being gross? Be careful when pruning because any tubers you neglect will likely grow new plants the following season (unless this was your plan, because you cut some of the tubers on purpose). They can be left in the ground and harvested as needed during the winter, as long as the ground is not frozen). Tubers can easily hide a foot in the ground.
The tubers should be cleaned, dried, and kept in a cold, dark, well-ventilated area, like a root cellar. Prune all the tubers in the fall and remove any flower heads before planting the seeds, which will prevent them from monopolizing your garden area.

Growth control

You should certainly manage the development of your plants unless you intend to make a living off of cultivating Jerusalem artichokes. Each rootstock is capable of producing up to 200 tubers in a single year. Here are some suggestions:

Planting them in large pots or pots will keep them confined and unable to spread. All you need is to make sure the containers have drainage holes and are filled with a good drainage mix and a fertile potting mix.

Place physical barriers around the planting area, such as underground root barriers, to limit tuber spread. Root barriers should be at least 24 inches deep and made of a sturdy, impermeable material such as heavy-duty plastic so that tree trunks won't break and squirrels can't get their way in.

Don't plant Jerusalem artichoke near other plants.
Prune the tubers well at the end of the growing season.
Dead flowers before they have a chance to set seed.

If you see any buds appearing outside the designated planting area, remove them immediately to prevent further spread.
Don't dispose of unwanted tubers in compost piles or landscaped areas; It can break out easily and become invasive. Instead, dispose of them in the trash or share them with friends or neighbors who are interested in developing their own skills.

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