As the lockdown progressed in time,
I started pondering to myself how could I be a little more self sufficient? How
could I grow a little more food for myself and my family? Given the resources
available to myself I began scouring the internet for options, and after
looking at videos on youtube and various articles on the internet I became more
and more intrigued with the prospect of trying to grow Sunchokes this coming
For those of you not familiar with
Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), they are native to North America, and are
related to sunflowers. They are a perennial plant that can grow 5 to10ft tall, their
are high in inulin, and can be consumed raw or cooked. I researched how to grow
them and the overall consensus was that they should be planted with the
following conditions for best success:
loose, well-drained soil
Space sunchoke tubers 12 to 18 inches apart, 4 to 6
Space rows 4-6 feet apart
Soil temperature at planting should be at least 50F
(10C), prior to planting.
Plant in full sun
Do not plant in areas that are consistently wet
Plants are drought tolerant, but produce better with a
regular supply of water.
pH of soil best between 5.8 and 6.2
Plant in a dedicated bed if possible or mow around for
Sunchokes are typically harvested in late
fall. They require 110 -150 days to maturity
Hoping that I have convinced you that your going to grow sunchokes, you’ll need a source of sunchoke tubers. They can often be found at the farmers market or your local grocery store, online (Ebay, Amazon), and online growers.
I was now left with no tubers, and struggled finding a good source. I turned to the Nextdoor App. A neighbour not too far away, luckily came to my rescue and provided me with a paper bag full of tubers. I was a little skeptical at first that they may grow as the tubers were a little soft to the touch and not firm. Nevertheless, with no other choice I planted them a little deeper then last time and kept them in my garage to protect them from the squirrels. Once they started sprouting I moved the them outside in the sun. The squirrels still came around for a snack but were much less aggressive once the plants were growing. I am proud to state that my plants now range from 4” in height to 18” in height and are growing fast.
My order of sunchokes seeds has not
yet arrived, so all I can promise as they when they arrive I can do a follow-up
on how successful I am in growing them from seeds.
Assuming I am successful in growing
sunchokes, my plan is to start consuming some of them in the fall. From
research i hear that what i have listed below are some of the best ways to
Baked sunchokes – Sprinkle sunchokes with oil and
seasonings, then Bake well-scrubbed tubers at 350F for 30-40 minutes.
Sunchoke stir fry – Substitute sunchokes for water
chestnuts in your favorite stir fry recipe.
Steamed sunchokes – Steam whole sunchokes for 10-15
minutes. Serve with butter and a sprinkle of parsley or other seasonings you
Sunchoke chips – Thinly slice sunchokes and drop
into hot oil. Fry chips until lightly browned. Salt and season to taste.
word of caution – keep in mind that they are very invasive once they gain a
foothold in your garden so be careful. This invasiveness can be good if they’re
planted far from any other cultivated areas. Personally I like knowing
that perennial supply of food that I can be grow all the time.
My research also
indicated that unlike other root crops, sunchokes cannot be stored for long
periods. They have a thin skin and dry out easily. They keep best in the
ground, dug as needed for use. In northern areas, a thick layer of mulch may
keep your sunchokes accessible longer. In colder climates some people have
success bringing them indoors into a root cellar or cold cellar where they
remain buried in a pot with dirt over the winter prior to planting again
If you have grown sunchokes before please leave a comment, tip or suggestion, alternatively if you have a favorite way to cook them please leave a suggestion below.
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