Growing Jerusalem Artichoke Plants
Many vegetable gardeners are unfamiliar with Jerusalem artichoke plants, although they may know them by their common name, sunchoke. Jerusalem artichokes are native to North America and have nothing in common with the artichokes found in your local grocery. These plants are closely related to the sunflowers, and the plants are actually in the same genus. The flowers are a brilliant yellow, and they are mounted on tall stalks with broad leaves, much like sunflowers. The tubers resemble ginger roots, growing in gnarled, twisted forms with occasional smooth patches. To grow a Jerusalem artichoke plants begins with the soil. While the plants grow and produce flowers in almost any type of soil, yields are better when they are planted in loose, well aerated, well-draining soil. The plants also produce greater yields in slightly alkaline soil, but for the home gardener, neutral soil works fine.
An all purpose fertilizer should be worked into the soil when planting. Planting Jerusalem artichoke plants is much like planting potatoes. Small tubers or pieces of tuber with two or three buds are planted 2-3 inches deep about 2 feet apart in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. The planting should be watered well. The tubers will sprout in two to three weeks.
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