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Jerusalem artichokes are actually members of the sunflower family. They are grown for their edible tubers that have a taste similar to artichokes. The plants are grown from tubers planted in spring. Popular varieties include Fuseau, Red Fuseau, and Stampede.
Jerusalem artichokes can grow just about anywhere, but they do best in raised beds with good drainage. Because they grow very tall, they should be placed on the north side of the garden. Work a generous amount of compost and soil conditioner into the bed to a depth of 12".
Select whole tubers or pieces of tubers with two or three prominent buds for planting. In early spring, plant the tubers 4" deep and 24" apart in all directions. Cover with soil and water well. Add mulch to the beds to keep the dirt in place and to hold in moisture.
Jerusalem artichokes need to be watered deeply to force the tubers to grow down and out rather than up toward the surface. Carefully pull any weeds that appear and keep a look out for slugs until the plants get well established.
When the foliage begins to change color and die back in the fall, cut the plants down to 12" above the ground. The tubers can be dug up with a pitch fork as necessary, but those left in the ground after the first hard frost will taste sweeter than those pulled before it. Immediately replant the smallest tubers for next year’s crop.
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