The Q&A Archives: Jerusalem Artichoke Planting

Question: I have just received a couple of tubers in the mail without instructions . Where do I plant these tubers (only full sun?), how deep and how far apart?

Answer: Jerusalem Artichokes are a perennial vegetable that grow in all zones. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Do plant them away from other gardens as they can be quite invasive. They prefer loose, fertile soil with a pH of 6-6.5.

They should be planted about 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost. (You're beyond that now, but just plant them anyway. You may have to wait until next year to have a decent crop.) Have you ever planted potatoes? It's very similar. Cut them up to make each piece with one or more "eyes". Place them about 3 inches deep and 12-18 inches apart in rows or beds. They will do much better if mulched and weeded early. Once they get going they will create their own shade which will keep weeds at bay.

They are rarely bothered by pests or diseases but can become almost impossible to eradicate once they are established. Be sure to harvest them thoroughly each year in order to keep them within bounds. Harvest and prepare them as you would potatoes. They aren't good keepers, so dig 'em as you want 'em!

They take about 110-150 days for that first crop. They will withstand moderate frost and freezing does not damage them. If they are well mulched, you can dig them well after a hard frost.

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