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Sunchokes... Jerusalm artichokes

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  • Jeff
    So I a couple of years back, I finally ran across some wild Jerusalm Artichokes... I dug up a few and transplanted them to my planter in front of my house. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2008
      So I a couple of years back, I finally ran across some wild Jerusalm
      I dug up a few and transplanted them to my planter in front of my house.

      The tubers were small and oblong, think small cigar.
      Easy to clean because of lack of knobs, but smaller than I would like,
      since even easily cleaned ones takes extra time compared to a larger,
      more diffficult to clean because of the surface area.

      Anyways, these wild varieties produce 15-25 small tubers per plant,
      but this is a fairly good yield, but the smaller ones. are hard to
      find and even thin enough to get a good yeild.
      The tubers on this wild variety tend to be at the end of 6"-1'
      aggressive rhizomes... these rhizomes are about the thickness of a
      thin pencil, and have traveled 2' vertical feet and up to 5'
      horizontal feet.
      they grow upto 4' tall, flower in early august and produce accassional

      I have heavy heavy clay soil, that was ammended with 10% compost.

      Anyways, two years ago, I gave in a bought a commercial Sunchoke,
      the tubers shipped to me where slighly knobby, and just bigger than a
      golf ball. I recieved 5. I planted them at the family's lake cabin.
      Very sandy mostly, but one small spot of clay.

      Last year I did not havest them wanting to increase the tuber numbers,
      and spread them out.

      This year They did not spread out, several shoots came straight up in
      the same place. When I dug them this fall and the tubers were too
      close together basically a mass the size of a volleyball was right
      under the clump. The roots were fine roots, I didn't find any
      rhizomes. I harvested a 5 gallon bucket full in all, and replanted the
      largest 20.
      about half of the were roundish pingpong ball size (about 10% smaller
      than I orginally recieved) and half were distrobed and highly knobby,
      some of these were larger than my fist though.

      What really surprised me though was the variablity in the yeilds
      between the five clumps.
      One of the clumps was responsible for over half my harvest.

      Also there seemed to be two phenotypes,
      the ones with smaller stems were better tuber producers,
      and the larger stems were less productive.
      Stems in the smaller ones were about the same size of my wild ones.
      the large stems were about an inch in diameter.
      They were roughly 8' tall.
      the flowered in mid-sept (way too late for seed, here in ND).
      and each stem only had one or zero flowers.

      I got to thinking about whats going on here,
      is it that I got sent differnt plants from different sources,
      is it that the soil, size of orginal tuber has an impact on stem size
      how much effect does soil have on yeild and size of tubers.
      ANd are my wild one's a hybrid?? _ possible showy sunflower aka
      Helianthus latiflorus...??

      any comments would be greatly appreciated so I know how to evaluate my
      future findings on selecting tubers in the future.
      PS.... we have not had a killing frost yet this year and that is
      highly unusual, how would this impact what I have said?
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