Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Starting Sunchokes in the Garden

In the winter we gardeners still find plenty to do, like starting perennials. I went to my Mother's and harvested the last of her Jerusalem Artichokes (AKA Sunchokes), not just for the yums but to pass on the plant to my yard. These humble asters are neither from Jerusalem, nor are they Artichokes, they are yummy tubers with tops that bloom bright yellow and look like small sunflowers. Since their arrival in our house they have been a staple part of Thanksgiving get-togethers as they are awfully tasty sauteed in a little butter.

The propagation of such plants is not by seeds, but by starts. My Mother's plot began as a pot of sad flowers rescued from a florist dumpster, but once growing they are nearly impossible to get rid of! Each season one leaves behind the smallest tubers and the nubbins growing on the base of each stalk, the next seasons crop spring from these humble origins.

Because of their longevity I picked a enclosed bed which is awkward to cultivate - perfect for perennials. I gave them some nice soil, but they are a weedy crop and ask for very little besides sunshine and space! Now we just sit back and wait for spring...

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