Jerusalem artichokes are so very much underrated these days, but it is a very useful plant. It is not related to globe artichokes, and in fact is a member of the sunflower family. The reasons for growing them are twofold. First they grow large, and therefore make a great windbreak. Secondly the tubers are delicious and can be eaten raw and cooked.
My favourite is artichoke soup, though my father always called it ‘blanket lifter soup’ for obvious reasons.
Easy to grow, plant the tubers in the ground 18 inches apart and two feet between rows. When they are about 3 ft tall, draw earth around them and heel them in to stop them rocking. Cut the tops off when they are 5 ft tall. Harvest from September and through into late autumn. They’re easy!
No relation to globe artichoke. Great flavour – lots of gas, which is why many single people love them! They are tall plants that will produce a lot of tubers, and they are grown from tubers like potatoes.
Dig in a lot of manure into the area where planting and plant seed tubes about 60 cm apart in rows a metre apart. They can be earthed up, and then left to grow.
Plant in March – April as seed tubers, and they will appear above the ground in a few weeks. They grow very tall, and keep them slightly moist – never dry, but never wet either.
They are easy grow, and indeed if you leave a piece in the ground, it grows like mad. It is better to replenish stock year on year rather than simply letting it grow and come again. Apart from having good fertility, it grows for fun.
When the leaves yellow, cut the plants back and you can dig out the tubers as required.
Pests and Problems
None really to speak of – even the slugs don’t bother that much.
Very hardy, not fussy about soil type. Make a great wind break. Generally they are ordered in February and delivered by seed companies in March.