Thursday 10 July 2014

Jerusalem Artichokes - my, how they spread!

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.

My plan was intentional - plant these and let them spread to cover a wide space.  Even without flowers, they are prettier than poorly maintained lawn which is the best I can usually manage.  But spread they will ... and they are only 30 feet from the neighbouring property.

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!


  1. I've always been afraid to plant them here, but we have so little space.

  2. Lucky for me I have plenty of space! They do need to be carefully managed so as not to spread - you've likely made the right decision.