HOW TO GROW JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE
Description of the plant
Jerusalem artichoke roots
– Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a plant of the Compositae family, related to sunflower, grown for obtaining its tubers, which are edible.
– In English it is called: Jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple, topinambour
– Annual plant up to 3m. tall.
– Stem erect, rough and reddish, with numerous ramifications.
– Leaves are alternate, large, stalked, oval-lanceolate, toothed.
– Flowers radiated forming blackish florets and ray florets with yellow flowers.
– It blooms in summer. Fruit in achene, 5 – 7mm.
– Roots thickened forming tubers, pale brown, red, purple or white, rich in inulin.
Suitable climate for Jerusalem artichoke
A general view of the plant
– Plant from tropical and subtropical climates, native to eastern North America, and introduced in Europe in the seventeenth century. Nowadays naturalized in this continent.
– Average temperatures from 18 to 26 ° C.
– In full sun.
– It can grow in the same places where you can plant potato and corn.
– It tolerates frost, although it does not flourish in very cold climates.
– Altitude between 300 and 650m. above the sea level. In India, it is described in altitudes of 3,600 m.
Ecological amplitude: H. tuberosus can be preferably grown at 300-750 m altitude (in India up to 3600 m). Agricultural areas, disturbed areas, grass and moorland, lakes, riparian zones, under human direction, urban areas.
Habitat in the Netherlands: In moist, nutrient-rich, sandy or loamy soils, especially along rivers, riverbanks and roadsides.
Suitable soil for Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke flowers
- Rustic plant that can grow in poor soils, but thrives best in areas rich in organic matter.
- Loamy and loose soil, sandy or clayish.
- It does not tolerate waterlogging, which promote disease development and hinder the growth of the tubers.
- PH between 4.5 and 8.2.
Jerusalem artichoke crop-care
- Labor soil deep at least three weeks before planting.
- Plow the soil surface before plantation to condition it for planting.
- Control of weeds periodically during cultivation. However, this plant eradicates surrounding weeds, because it becomes so dense that few plants can compete. Usually invasive.
- Control of rodents and moles, which can attack the rhizomes.
- Control slugs coming to consume the entire aerial part of the plant.
- Use of fertilizers to produce better crop, amount of fertilizer: 484 or 4124.
Propagation of Jerusalem artichoke
How to propagate tubers?
– Jerusalem artichoke reproduces itself vegetatively by transplanting their tubers. This feature makes it an invasive plant, since it is difficult to eradicate all tubers.
– Plant the tubers in spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. Late planting reduces production.
– Whole tubers are planted or pieces of approximately 50g. as if they were potatoes.
– Tuber planting density: between 20,000 and 50,000 tubers / ha
– Cover the remaining tubers to a depth of 10cm.
– The tubers sprout after about 10 to 17 days after planting, when the soil temperature is at least 6 ° C.
How to harvest Jerusalem artichoke
- The tubers are harvested in late autumn or winter. These are small, so gathering them is quite laborious. It is almost impossible to harvest all tubers a plant produces, and possibly the following year new shoots will appear in areas close to the crop.
- The leaves, which are used for animal feed, can be harvested before flowering. Winter frost will blacken and make leaves fall to re-sprout in spring next year.
Diseases and plagues of Jerusalem artichoke
The incidence of plagues and diseases is rare in this type of product. We can point out:
- White mold (Sclerotinia spp.): It causes early wilting of the leaves and stem and tubers rot.
- Stem and sheath blight
More information on Jerusalem artichoke in the listing above