Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Jerusalem Arti"CHOKED"

Ok, so that pun might have been a little rough but bear with me:

Just under a year ago, we planted one of our beds with a few jerusalem artichoke tubers. I describe these plants as being a sunflower above ground and like a potato below ground. These plants are especially interesting because they are native to the continental United States and were a common source of food for Native Americans in temperate regions. These plants are known for having high yields up north. In fact, this plant is so productive that sometimes it's hard to get all the tubers and too many come back the second year.

As you can see from the picture above, the jerusalem artichokes grew well and were a nice splash of color all through the hot Arizona summer. So we have been getting very curious about how much growth is occurring below ground. This week, curiosity finally got the best of us and we decided to dig them up:

....well no amount of zooming in will make this look like a lot of food. Overall, I would say we pulled around 2 pounds of tubers out of the bed. This is especially sad since they took up a garden bed for 10 months. Oh well, not every crop is built for the desert. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions on what might have gone wrong. Has anyone out there tried growing jerusalem artichokes in Phoenix?

The good news is that since they added such nice color, we are adding these few tubers to our wildflower bed.

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