Tips from Olle Garden Bed: How To Plant & Grow Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes)

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is not native to Jerusalem as their name implies, nor is it from the Middle East. For hundreds of years, they have been cultivated as native plants in North America and Canada and domesticated by Native Americans. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Most people will ask this question first, where do they come from? Then they asked, are they some sort of artichoke?

No, they are not artichokes either. How misleading is the name?

Now that these answers have been solved, let's go deep into the soil to find some sunflower planting techniques.

But first, you want to know what you are growing up, right?

In the end, how to cultivate it and how to eat it will not only taste good but also let you let off oil (its nickname is farthoke, which tells you a lot). Everything is in order, please continue reading.

What is Jerusalem artichoke?

A few years ago, a friend gave us a very strange looking tuber to plant in the Hungarian garden. We didn't ask any questions. We dug them underground according to their requirements. When the spring warms, the green stems become more and more obvious. When they reach into the sky, close to 2 meters (6.5 feet), they have the most beautiful sunflower like flowers.

raised garden bed

They form a wonderful garden background, but it is the things you harvest underground that can dominate.

In terms of taste, sunchakes have a taste of water chestnut. Others compare this similarity to the soybean potato, while others say it tastes like a nut potato with a slight artichoke aftertaste.

In general, tubers have a starch taste (although they do not contain starch at all) and are very suitable for use with potatoes or yams. This is really a very confusing vegetable!

Basically, a picture shows everything.

Jerusalem artichoke is a multi segmented tuber, edible, including skin. It is similar to ginger root. There is no need to try to scrape off the delicate skin of sunbathing. Just wash, cook and eat.

7 Reasons for Planting Jerusalem Artichoke

We often grow things according to their taste, and local tomatoes occupy everything. However, sometimes we need to go beyond flavor and even beyond nutrition. Sometimes we need to think about survival. If you have a crop that is sure to survive in bad seasons, it is Jerusalem artichoke.

Why do you plant Sunchokes in your garden?

For many reasons, Jerusalem artichoke is an excellent supplement to your garden.

Sunchekes is:


Low maintenance

Drought tolerance


Can act as a rich producer of seasonal privacy screens

Animal feed in backyard

Attractive to beneficial insects

All this sounds good to me, except that they are beautiful and magnificent. There must be a trap

Sunchokes can also be invasive, as it is difficult to harvest all the small stems that are broken at harvest. Anything left underground will reappear. This may be a good thing, but it all depends on how you look at it. If you have anything to worry about, a raised garden bed will definitely help you.

When we plant sunchokes, we try to include them in garden beds. We also found that if you leave them underground in winter, they will appear in large numbers in spring. Although our land has been abandoned for a long time, I bet they are still there. Every summer, they will bloom warm yellow flowers and push the tubers to the sand.

raised garden bed

They also have allele pathic effects. This means that they can inhibit the growth of other plants (English walnut is another such plant), although this has never been a problem in our garden.

Health benefits of Sunchokes

Sunchokes are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals in the garden.

Jerusalem artichoke contains niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium. They are also rich in inulin. If you or the person you cook for has diabetes, this is good news. Because inulin is a prebiotic, it has little effect on blood sugar. Some people think inulin is a "popular prebiotic". I'll let you decide for yourself.

The disadvantage of doing this is flatulence. But cooking can reduce this unpleasant side effect, so don't automatically ignore it. As we all know, potatoes, cabbage, beans, onions and dairy products can cause flatulence, but I will not give up these delicious foods for some barking spiders.

It is simple and clear, especially if the plant originated in your area, you should at least check it. You may be surprised that you like to eat it, or just enjoy its beautiful presence in the garden.

This is something you need to grow yourself.

Planting Jerusalem artichoke

The best way to find solanum tubers for planting is to ask around. If you can't find anyone willing to give up a few (believe me, gardeners are happy to teach these plants!) Search the seed directory instead.

There are two ways to grow Jerusalem artichoke.

Traditional gardening says planting them in spring, a few weeks before your last frost date. Our experience shows that in late autumn/early winter, as long as you can cultivate the soil, it is also a good time to put it underground.

After all, once you take them off the floor, they have a very short shelf life. As I have mentioned, you can't eat too much at one time. In addition, sunchakes are more difficult to preserve than other fruits and vegetables. We will discuss this more in the harvest section.

Sunchokes are very easy to plant, and can be planted in almost any soil.

Although they do prefer loose, well drained soil. It's easy to get them on the ground, but once they're set up, you need to be careful not to over welcome them.

You may find higher yields in slightly alkaline soils, but there is no need to try to change the soil to accommodate sunbathing. However, when planting time comes, in spring or late autumn, you need to plant tubers like potatoes.

The small stem for planting should have 2-3 buds. Plant them only 2-3 inches deep, leaving enough space between the tubers about 12-18 inches apart. If you are making a privacy screen and just want to sample the daisies later, please continue to plant more dense plants.

If harvest is your dream, please give them enough space to spread it.

You can even dedicate your entire garden bed to them, knowing how tall they can grow. Just make sure they don't obscure the crops you like to see in the sun.

If you are worried about the fertility of the soil, please add a handful of rotten compost to each group of sunflower tubers.

Take care of Sunchokes

Jerusalem artichokes like plenty of sunshine, although they grow almost equally well in some shady places. As long as they receive 6 hours of sunshine every day, they will always harvest surprises underground.

If you plant in spring, green shoots are expected to appear two to three weeks after planting

After that, some light weeding and mulching may be required. As plants are built, they leave you with nothing to do. You don't even have much chance to water, because sunbathing can cope with a short drought. If you want to go beyond that, they will drink an inch of water every week, but in most gardens, this is unnecessary.

Sometime in August, they will begin to bloom, and the stems are covered with bright small sunflowers, which is the beginning of beauty. These flowers are very fragrant, with the smell of vanilla, at least my husband remembers. I remember more tuber flavor, we'll talk about it eventually.

Trim the sunchekes.

Although it may be beautiful to see all these flowers swaying in the breeze, it also consumes some energy from tuber production.

If you are food oriented, please cut their hair in midsummer to remove the pedicels before flowering. Cut them back four feet high to achieve this goal.

What if your sunscreen gets out of control?

I know from experience that it is difficult to take every tuber out of the ground when harvesting. If you leave them in the soil without harvesting them, they will escape to other parts of the garden.

Although it's good to have your own food, it doesn't always grow where you want it. In this case, the best action plan is to remove rather than spray.

Without aboveground buds, new tubers cannot develop. Therefore, in spring, when the plants are just growing, pull up the green plants with your hands or cut them down with a sickle. Try to grab each one and gently move them out of your garden.

raised garden bed

Harvest Jerusalem artichoke

I won't lie. Sunchokes have a long growing season. There are 110 to 150 days to harvest. However, from cucumbers to tomatoes and leafy green vegetables, your garden has everything you need, so there is nothing to worry about.

When harvest time comes, such as in October or November, depending on their planting time, it is time to dig out the first batch of tubers. This is easily done with a fork or shovel. Be careful not to cut or scratch their delicate skin, because if this happens, they will not last for a long time.

The best way to prolong the sunflower harvest is to dig only out of the ground what you need for a week or two. Keeping them underground is the best way to store them. In this way, you can harvest fresh sunbathing throughout the winter.

If you are worried about frost, just cover them with a thick covering. It's really easy when you don't make things too complicated.

Needless to say, those tubers left underground will grow out next spring, so we must harvest them carefully. If they replant in the same place the next year, make sure they receive the right amount of fertilizer.

Diseases and insect pests

The advantage here is that Jerusalem artichoke has no serious pests and diseases. Sometimes slugs taste them, sometimes aphids. Both are easily and organically controlled.

Jerusalem artichoke varieties

It is always interesting to look for seeds and other interesting roots everywhere in the garden. However, locally found seeds are usually worth preserving.

If you can't find anything in your area, please expand your search online. Please note, however, that it may be difficult to purchase them, as they can only be planted for a limited time each year.

Here are some varieties of Jerusalem artichoke worth eating:

Stampede – A high-yielding variety with plump white tubers.

Fuseau – A knot free, smooth skin variety that is easy to peel.

RedFuseau - a kind of red skin variety, with thin skin and sweet taste.

The short Sunray Suncookie grows to 6 feet tall with round tubers.

How to eat Jerusalem artichoke

This should be obvious, but I believe that cooking and enjoying artichokes is an art.

For beginners, never over prepare the tubers.

If you dare to eat them in large quantities, you may experience excessive bloating and flatulence, so that you will consider destroying every trace in the garden. This happened to my husband when we collected too much sunflower harvest. We are too greedy. We cook too much at one time and bear the consequences. We don't want this to happen to you.

They were named farticokes for a reason.

Be careful when eating them for the first time to see how much they affect your digestion.

Sunchake season is coming. It happens every year from late autumn to early spring.

Even if the planting time is not yet up, you can select some tubers in the market, cook them in various ways, taste them until your stomach is satisfied, and then decide where to plant them in the garden. It's that simple.

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