Jerusalem artichoke

Family: Asteraceae

Countries: Americas, Canada, North America, United States

Jerusalem artichokes are both easy to grow and useful vegetables!  I’d describe Jerusalem artichokes as having a wonderful, smokey, savoury flavour, which is quite unlike any other vegetable I’ve ever tasted. Jerusalem artichokes have a truly delicious flavour.

The one thing I must say early on, is that Jerusalem artichokes are such a strong-growing and self-propagating vegetable.  Once you have grown Jerusalem artichokes in an area of your garden or allotment, it will take a year or two to dig out any volunteers that continue growing after your harvest is lifted.  So for ease of cultivation, Jerusalem artichokes are best planted in a permanent location.  Once you’ve purchased Jerusalem artichokes for your very first planting, you shouldn’t need to buy tubers again and all your future harvests will effectively be free!

Jerusalem artichoke plants grow to at least 1.8m (6ft) tall (often taller) so look for a location where the plants’ height can be beneficial – choose a spot where a windbreak or shade in mid to late summer would be desirable.  At my allotment in autumn, I would cut back my Jerusalem artichokes to use their tall stems to make bug hotels and simply for as easy way to gather useful sticks for markers or as part of a plant support.

Plant Jerusalem artichoke tubers from February in milder areas, or from March to mid April in colder or more exposed areas of the country.  Jerusalem artichokes are a heavy cropping vegetable, even a small bed planted with two or three Jerusalem artichoke tubers will provide a good harvest.  After planting, cover the soil with a thick mulch of homemade garden compost.

Jerusalem artichokes are harvested during the winter months; they are usually ready in early winter.  You can dig up and lift your harvest and replant as many tubers as you have space for at the same time – you don’t need to plant many tubers, this is a truly productive vegetable.  After lifting and replanting your Jerusalem artichoke tubers, cover the soil with a mulch of garden compost.

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