[Market-farming] Jerusalem artichokes aka sun chokes

bobbett at windstream.net bobbett at windstream.net
Wed Mar 30 19:26:06 EDT 2011

---- clearviewfarm at bluefrog.com wrote: 
> Have any of you grown and harvested Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sun chokes?

I grow, harvest, sell and eat them annually.

>  I have some growing the edge of one of my fields.  I didn't know what they were until this last summer.  They are the red variety.  I dug some tonight.  I didn't find very many and what I did find was shallow, about 2-4 or 6 inches deep.  The plants are pretty thick; in some places, maybe 2-3" apart.  Should they spaced further apart?  Should I fertilize them for higher yields?  Any other suggestions or places I should look to learn more about them?

I've never fertilized mine.  They seem to do well as long as the land isn't too compacted.  I planted my first crop in a spot where bales of hale sat for about a year and killed the grass beneath.  They've been doing very well there.

I dig up all the tubers after frost in the Fall.  What we're going to eat I store in the frig.  I sell about 2/3 of what I dig up, and then replant the rest.

I plant mine a few inches deep giving them at least 6-8"  of elbow room.  Bigger tubers go deeper and are spaced farther apart.

When I dig them most tubers are only 2-4"  below ground--none are very deep.

My original tubers came from a mail order catalog over 10 yrs ago;  I don't recall the variety name or the source, but they are the standard white ones.

We used to find them by the sides of roads, too.  Mom and I used to dig them up and eat them years ago.  Those tubers weren't ever very big.  The cultivated ones are.

If you plan to grow them, beware that they are invasive and can take over.  No matter how carefully and thoroughly you dig them each year, you *will* miss some, so they are very hard to get rid of once established.

Hope this info helps,
Bobbett, KY/zone 6 

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