One of the few vegetables which provide a crop through winter to early
spring. The Jerusalem Artichoke will grow in poor soils, even shade and still
produce a good winter crop of roots. They are high in iron and a source of fibre,
vitamin C and potassium. To top it off, the tubers store well in the ground long
after the foliage has been decimated by frost.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE QUICK GUIDE
Folklore and Facts
Perennial grown for its edible tubers.
Site and Soil
They prefer a light, reasonably fertile soil in
full sun. However, they will grow almost anywhere, even shade.
Plant to Harvest Time
Site and Soil
Jerusalem Artichokes will grow in almost any position and soil but they have preferences
which will produce a top quality crop. They prefer a medium weight soil which is reasonably
fertile. Don't feed them very often though because that will only encourage foliage and
flowers at the expense of the root vegetables.
They do prefer full sun but will still produce a reasonable crop in shade. Bear in mind
when planting Jerusalem Artichokes that they can easily grow to 3m (10ft) high and their
dense foliage will cast shade. This can be useful for growing with cooler loving vegetables
such as lettuce. As long as the lettuce get some sun at the beginning or end of the day they
will appreciate the shade cast by Jerusalem artichokes in the mid day sun.
Planting Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers
Head down to your local greengrocer to buy your tubers. You can grow specific varieties
which can be ordered from specialist suppliers but it's not necessary and the suppliers are
hard to find.
If the tubers are large, then chop them into 5cm (2in) lengths making sure that each
portion contains at least two buds.
Plant each portion of the tuber to a depth of 15cm (6in) and space rows 90cm (3ft) apart.
Water in well and apply one handful of long lasting fertiliser (blood, fish and bone) per
Care for Jerusalem Artichokes
One of the easiest vegetables to care for, they almost look after themselves. The
key point with Jerusalem artichokes id the height they reach. In open and windy
areas the plants can easily be blown over.
When the plants are about 30cm (12in) high draw up soil around the stems to help
the roots secure the plant to the soil. When the plants reach about 2m (6ft) high
you can chop off the top 30cm (1ft) of the foliage to help the plants withstand any
When the first frost hits the foliage will start to die off. Cut back the stems to
about 15cm (6in) high and put them on the compost heap. The tubers in the ground
will store there with no help needed from you. Simply dig up the roots as and when
they are needed. If you are in a very cold area then cover the soil above the roots
with with bracken, straw or similar to lengthen the life of the roots.
Pest and Disease
The most common pest is the slug. Click
here for our page on how to deal with slugs in your garden.
Click here for
biological control of slugs.
Sometimes the roots are attacked by aphids. They will weaken the plants but are
unlikely to kill them. When you dig up the roots look for the brownish aphids. There
is no treatment for them but correct
crop rotation should stop
them being a problem.
Note that in some parts of world Jerusalem artichokes are considered a weed. If
you want to remove them from a patch of ground be sure to remove every trace of the
tubers from the soil.
Cooking Jerusalem Artichokes
They should be washed and scrubbed, the skin can be left on. They are excellent
roasted or added to stews and casseroles. A superb addition to any winter vegetable
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