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Jerusalem Artichokes

It’s planning Time for next season, and one of the plants I cannot rave about enough is the Jerusalem Artichoke. Jerusalem Artichokes are native to eastern North America. They are also known as sunchokes or Sunroots overseas.

They are not related to Artichokes, but are actually members of the sunflower family! The name “Jerusalem” is linked to the Italian word girasola, which means sunflower but no one seems to know where the artichoke part came from.

Jerusalem Artichokes are hugely popular at the moment due to the fact that not only are they delicious, but they are great for diabetics.

Beautiful yellow blooms top a perennial plant that grows six to ten feet tall. And while the flowers are summery and related to the common sunflower, it’s the tubers that they are grown for. Their roots are high in insulin and can be used raw or cooked.

Originally, they were grown by Native Americans as a source of food for winter when the supply’s ran low .

Not only were they a good source of protein, but they are a fast spreading late season harvest and store well.


  • They prefer loose, well-drained soil, but will tolerate poor soils. (Lighter soil makes harvesting easier.) if you can grow a kumara there , you can grow a Jerusalem artichoke.

  • Space artichoke tubers 12 to 18 inches apart, 4 to 6 inches deep.the tubers are weird knobbly thinks, similar to a calla Lily bulb, but they spread like potatoes so don’t be stingy on space or you’ll risk a reduced harvest.

  • Soil temperature at planting should be at least 10degrees Celsius, I’d suggest starting them off under cover in pots or tubs until early spring .

  • Plant in full sun

  • Do not plant in areas that are consistently wet, as wet soil will rot the tubers. Plants are drought tolerant, but produce best with a regular supply of water.

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