Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) belongs to the family of Asteraceae. He is among the forgotten vegetables, delicious and healthy. He deserves to have a small corner of the garden reserved for him so that he can find the good place that his edible tubers deserve at our table, especially since it is super easy to grow. Jerusalem artichoke is a ornamental perennial with lovely golden yellow flowers. It can reach 2.50 to 3 m high. It has so few requirements that it is perfect for novice gardeners and people who have a small vegetable garden, in the city or in the country, but are often away and therefore do not have time to devote to gardening. Let’s see how to plant and care for Jerusalem artichokes, but also when and how to harvest them.
Plant the Jerusalem artichoke
During the autumn preceding the Jerusalem artichoke planting period, it is advisable to prepare the terrain to loosen the soil, rid it of stones and weed roots. We take advantage of this to bury good quality compost in order to improve performance.
In February or Marchthe time has come to tackle the Jerusalem artichoke planting. A few days before, and if possible after a generous rain or, failing that, copious watering, you can again dig the square of garden reserved for the Jerusalem artichoke. All that remains is to plant the rhizomes as follows.
- Prepare the boards, taking care to space them 80 cm from each other,
- Make a planting hole every 50 cm, 10 to 12 cm deep,
- Install one rhizome per hole,
- cover with earth,
- Do not tamp.
Leave them alone (unless it never rains, in which case a watering or two is in order), waiting for each seedling to reach a height of 30 to 32 cm. At that time, a stake is planted at each end of a row in order to attach very strong iron wire capable of supporting the Jerusalem artichokes, which will reach an impressive height in a few months.
The Jerusalem artichoke displays a beautiful hardinessso that it can withstand temperatures of the order of -15°C. It can therefore be grown in the four corners of France.
Cultivating Jerusalem artichoke
The Jerusalem artichoke has a preference for well-drained, non-acidic soils. Apart from that, it tolerates any garden soil, even poor. He likes to be installed under the sun but partial shade can suit it.
It is better to take into account propensity to invade the garden if we are not careful. It is an indestructible plant which has tuberous rhizomes ensuring its survival in winter. A Jerusalem artichoke plant can become very tall, risking shading other plants in the vegetable garden which may suffer if they require a sunny position. Ideally, the Jerusalem artichoke should therefore be reserved for an area of the garden that is a little out of the way and well delimited, or else it can be planted in the beds to illuminate the pleasure garden thanks to its many sun-coloured flowers.
Caring for Jerusalem artichokes
As surprising as it may seem, the Jerusalem artichoke is a large free-standing plant that doesn’t need anyone to push carefree until harvest time. No need to be watered, mulched, fertilized as soon as care has been taken to amend the soil before planting. He does not fear pests or diseases. At most, we can cut its stems as soon as they exceed 30 to 35 cm in height and hoe all around from time to time to eliminate any unwanted weeds.
The gardener is advised not to inadvertently leave too many pieces of tubers in the ground after harvesting, as each one will spring back into a vigorous plant the following year. This is how you can quickly be invaded!
Harvest your Jerusalem artichokes
It’s in fall that you can harvest up to 3 kg of Jerusalem artichokes per m², about 8 months after planting. The ideal is to harvest just after flowering, because its splendid yellow flowers bring a touch of gaiety to the garden, from September to October. As well enjoy !
Then just use a fork-spade to lift the tubers to be dug up. We harvest as needed. As it does not fear frost, this root vegetable can stay in the ground even in very cold weather. We can thus harvest his Jerusalem artichokes from autumn until March. You just have to wait until the ground has had time to thaw to dislodge the delicious tubers.
The Jerusalem artichoke has a good taste of artichoke. It is admirable roasted in a pan, in a drizzle of olive oil or a knob of butter. It goes well with freshly chopped aromatic herbs and goes wonderfully with poultry, veal, pork and even fish. During the first three months of the year, it is an early vegetable highly sought after by discerning palates.