A Forest Garden - Record of Progress

Jerusalem Artichoke – Ultimate Perennial

One Perennial to Rule Them All!

Do you have a favourite plant? Something that you just couldn’t do without?

For me, that is the Jerusalem Artichoke.

Those first shoots appear just after the thaw of Spring. If you are in a hurry to see them, relax, any tubers left from last season will arrive in good time.

seedling shoots

Lush green plants soon develop from those tender shoots.

shoots emerge into plants

And before too long you have a robust plant that acts as an effective wind break (has been used in this way for centuries).

You can start to pull out the tubers once the flowers emerge, but they wont be at full size until the flowers wilt and the plant starts to die off.

wind screen

The petals are divine. Deep yellow, slightly perfumed, delicate, short lived.

Precious.

artichoke flower

Dancing in the wind.

yellow flowers in the wind

breeze yellow flowers

Get to the tubers by pulling the main stem right out of the ground – they will appear in and around the root ball.

JA ready to eat

Watch out for any water logged pieces – remove as you see them.

Throw back any pieces where you want them growing next season.

first harvest!

And this is how it does so well… Just look at where that cluster of tubers has reached relative to the plant. You only need to miss a small piece of the root to have it pop up again next season.

sunchoke roots

Let’s summarise – why Jerusalem Artichokes are the ultimate perennial:

  • Will grow year after year with little to no effort (hence why it is classified as a herbaceous perennial plant) – just leave some in the ground and throw some quality compost over it
  • The plant is an effective wind break – just keep the supporting soil moist
  • The plant’s growing structure easily supports vine like runner plants such as tomato, cucumber, pumpkin, beans, and all that
  • The biomass of the plant is substantial and is an excellent mulch when chopped up around fruit trees
  • The tubers are plentiful and can be made into any number of dishes – from soup to mash to fried/baked chips
  • A relative of the Sunflower, it is simply beautiful to look at

Hope this is reason enough to give them a try – but don’t eat too many in one sitting!
+Shane Genziuk

8 thoughts on “Jerusalem Artichoke – Ultimate Perennial

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  7. I have 4 kinds of sun chokes,Pink Crispy & Stampede being two.
    They came from http://www.oikostreecrops.com.
    Asparagus, rhubarb,garlic & onions, cardoon, lovage,Rosemary,crosnes or Chinese artichoke & Poke weed are perennials, too. Onions & garlic do not have to be lifted or harvest every year, lovage & Rosemary are herbs also. Peppers & tomatoes are perennials in frost free zones.
    I have the Jerusalem artichoke or sun choke, the Flower with vegetables, because it is nice plant, that is good to eat.

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    • Wow what a collection! I’m growing garlic right now and am really interested about the garlic you have there.
      What happens if you just leave it in the ground? Does the bulb rot after a while and then replaced by another? Please share your knowledge.

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