Wednesday 8 July 2009

How NOT to Plant Jerusalem Artichokes

Way way back at the beginning of the year we took delivery of all our vegetable seeds. Amongst these seeds we also received some Jerusalem Artichoke tubers. These funny looking things came with a warning. PLANT THESE AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THEM. There was also some additional instructions that suggested the tubers be placed in moist compost in a dark, cool place for a very short time if the bed was not quite ready.

Fast forward to July and those tubers, carefully placed in their moist compost were, until Saturday, still there. All of them (I think about eight) in one nine inch pot.

The reason for this is that they were due to be placed in the raised bed that we only got around to preparing on Saturday. Now despite us not having prepared their bed these tubers were not to be discouraged from growing. Eventually we noticed signs of green shoots above the compost. 'Oh dear - We must hurry and get that bed ready' we thought to ourselves. But the thought stayed put as we worked elsewhere in the garden, until eventually the Jerusalem artichokes had grown as tall as Garden Girl. Not bad considering their roots had no where to go.

The poor things had been fighting so hard to find somewhere else to go they had cracked the pot at the base. Not that this mattered. So pot bound were these plants, that the only hope I had of getting them out of their pot was to cut them out.

I then debated whether to plant the lot in one big bunch, letting them fight for space themselves or try to separate them. I opted for the latter in the hope that some would survive.

Garden Girl helped prize the plants apart with her garden fork and this is what we found;

From here I carefully separted them into eight smaller bunches and planted them out in their new home.
They fought so hard to grow and survive in their tiny pot, I hope they can recover from a bit of root hacking. And if not, at least I tried.

And before I go; if you are sitting comfortably and fancy investigating some blogs you haven't visited before, then why not take a trip to the British Mummy Bloggers Carnival this month. You will find some great links over at BritsinBosnia, this months carnival hostess.


  1. They should be fine. We've never grown them but I found which is very reassuring. In fact the final paragraph says:
    "Next year, all the tubers left, and all small pieces of roots that you didn't find last year, will grow up and create a hedge of new plants. If you don't like it to be so, you have to be very careful when you harvest them. The only sure way to get rid of artichokes, is to move avay from them."

  2. Hope they survive for you.

  3. Putting them where they belong is such a nice gesture. Pots sometimes are sweet and beautiful cages for these plants. Of course pots are good to us, because we can place exactly where we want them to be, and we can shuffle the location as time goes. Enough water and nutrients yes, but the space for the roots is constricting..... Set them free is the way to go... and they will reward you in many ways, I guess.
    ~ bangchik

  4. Can you eat these plants? Or are they strictly ornamental? Just curious:)

  5. I will be curious how they will do now! I think they should survive! Please, show us their pictures in a month or so!

  6. Hello GartenGrl, Yes they are edible. They can be mashed or roasted, much like potatoes or used as the base of a soup. I must be honest though - I have never actually tried them before - we were looking for something edible to grow in the shady bit and these seemed like a good idea. I'll let you know how they taste.

    Tatyana - I'll keep you updated with their progress. Lets hope there will be something there to take a picture of!

  7. A word of warning with Jerusalem Artichokes - when you harvest them, try to make sure you get them all as they are very invasive and will keep coming up forever if not. We planted some in a bed a couple of years ago then chose to plant them elsewhere since but they are still appearing in the original bed. Great veg though - useful raw in salads too. Makes a lovely creamy soup.