J is for Jerusalem Artichoke.
Don’t let the name fool you, the Jerusalem Artichoke has nothing to do with artichokes or Jerusalem.
It is in the sunflower family and is also called sunroot, sunchoke, or earth apple. It is a perennial plant that can grow up to 3 meters tall. This perennial plant with edible roots grows in two spots in the garden … at the back of the fence garden and on the hill garden.
Once I realized how tall, and invasive these plants could be I moved them to another couple of spots where there was more space.
The flowers were a disappointment to me the first year I grew them because the stems grew so tall I thought it would have large blooms. But the size of them just didn’t seem to fit the plant. I am peering out between the stems the first year (photo above), when I really didn’t know much about the plant at all. Lots has changed in the garden since this photo was taken. The first is I have a much better camera to take photos with. This actual garden area isn’t there any more and the fence garden wasn’t fully developed yet.
I now have these plants growing in the fence garden (tall plants right in front of the fence) and on a hill border garden. I think they are going to be moved to a bigger location this year.
They grow so lovely and tall that they become a natural fence. They have spread into the grape vine fence now. And I hate to say it but they also spread into the neighbours yard.
Thank goodness for the zoom on the camera else I wouldn’t be able to get photos of the blooms right up in the sky. They must be over 10 feet, or 3 meters, tall.
The blooms can be up to 10 cm. across, so when you consider the plant can be 3 meters tall, that is rather small. Blooms don’t appear till October.
This plant grows from tubers. The white variety is called Stampede. You can cut the tubers into smaller pieces if transplanting as long as there is a new shoot on each piece. This plant spreads rapidly, prefering a fertile soil in a mainly sunny location. I’ve recently just learned about other varieties and hope to try some of them out this year.
The tuber is edible and if you search you will find various recipes. Roasted sun chokes have a nutty slightly sweet taste. You can also scrub and roast them like jacket potatoes. Over the years I have given away many of the tubers and some of the recipients have told me they grow really well and enjoy them in various recipes. A quick search will give you lots of different recipes.
Harvesting is best done in mid to late Fall, after the first frost. Although I have dug them earlier in the season.
ABC Wednesday is up to J. J for Jerusalem artichokes.
Are you looking for some of these tubers for your own garden?
This family run business in British Columbia, chokedup.ca, has 3 varieties and will ship across Canada. Be sure to check them out if you are looking for good quality tubers. If you do please mention you saw the link on my site.