Jerusalem Artichoke Growing Instructions
Jerusalem Artichokes are easy to grow, low maintenance, and great for beginning gardeners.
Planting: Tubers can be planted in full sun in about any soil that drains well. If you improve the soil before planting, you will get larger tubers, that are easier to clean and cook when you harvest them. Add up to 30% compost and add lime to raise pH to about 6.5 if your soil is too acidic. Till soil at least 12 inches deep.
Tubers should be planted 4 -5 inches deep, 10 - 15 inches apart. Large tubers can be cut into pieces of about 1 ounce with one or two eyes per piece. It is important that you plant soon after cutting apart so that the tubers do not dry out.
Care After Planting: After plants begin to grow they will benefit from adding rich soil or compost around the stalks as you would do with potatoes.
Keep plants well watered. If the leaves start to wilt...water soon!
Jerusalem Artichokes can grow 7 - 10 feet tall. If you do not want them this tall, tip prune (cut 2 - 3" off terminal bud area) when they are 5 feet tall and they will bush out and not hurt the tuber size or yield. This discourages flowering and puts all of the plants energy into tuber production. If you wait and prune off 2 - 4 feet later on in the season, or the wind breaks off the stalk, your tuber yield will be reduced.
Jerusalem Artichokes are heavy feeders and number and size of tubers is influenced by the fertility of your soil. Adding fertilizer when shoots are visible in the spring, when stalks are 3 feet tall, and then when they are 6 feet tall will improve your yield.
Harvesting: Harvest only after the 1st frost or your tubers will not be as sweet. If you don't get a frost wait until mid winter to harvest.
If your ground freezes in winter, you can harvest in the fall and put the tubers in a bucket with moist well draining soil and store in an area where the temperature is 32 - 40 degrees. Water bucket if soil dries, but make sure the bucket has drain holes or the tubers will rot. This way you can enjoy fresh tubers all winter.
Once you have planted Jerusalem Artichokes you will almost always miss a few when digging so your planting bed should last for years. Leave a few tubers just in case. If you get tired of where you have planted Jerusalem Artichokes, the easiest way to get rid of them is to put black plastic over the planting area for a season to kill all tubers. So it is important to choose the correct planting area, as once you have planted, they will last for years and years!
If you can not plant right away, cover with moist soil and sit in a cool area.
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