Last year, I planted 2 small patches (about 5 each) of jerusalem artichokes close together. As seen in the main picture of the post, I have previously had many plants. In my opinion, they are a very pretty "ground cover" and will eventually reduce the amount of lawn I mow. The flower is not all that much on its own, but quite pretty in larger bunches. Well, to be truthful, I like them even with just a few but not everyone does.
I knew they would multiply quickly. They are related to the sunflower (same genus: helianthus) but actually grow edible tubers beneath the ground ... like potatoes. Well, they look more like ginger but multiply like potatoes.
Where each tuber formed last fall, a new plant shot up this year! So each patch of 5 artichokes have turned into about 35-45 artichokes plants this year.
I did not bother to harvest any last year as there were so few and I wanted to encourage growth. But it won't be more than a few years before I will be offering bags to co-workers in order to manage the spread.
I look forward to some interesting recipe options in the fall. If anyone has good jerusalem artichoke recipes, please share!