Tag Archives: Jerusalem artichoke

The artichoke chore

The Jerusalem artichoke is almost the perfect crop: easy to grow, requiring little or no maintenance, nor even irrigation under typical conditions; perennial; rarely affected by pests and diseases; producing a fairly good yield for the space; and can be dug as needed from late autumn through to mid spring. Its only drawback is that the flavour, and the effects on digestion, are not to everyone’s taste; if it were not for that, this would be the king of winter vegetables. Continue reading

Artichoke and leek gratin

Jerusalem artichokes and leeks are both excellent winter vegetables, standing through the worst of the weather to be dug as and when needed. At this time of year, the leeks are at the end of their useful life and will soon put forth a flower spike, and the artichokes are growing again. A couple of weeks ago we dug over the artichoke bed, selecting tubers for replanting, and using the last of the harvest for soup and the gratin described here. Continue reading

Sowing this week

This week we had limited time for sowing as we finally started planting up the orchard. We did, though, tend to three timely tasks: the parsnip bed, Jerusalem artichokes, and a second potato bed. Parsnips benefit from a long growing season and sowing as early as February is sometimes recommended. However, such early sowings, when the soil is cold and wet, are not conducive to good germination, and parsnip seed is already notoriously stubborn to germinate. I prefer to wait until conditions are better and the start of April is a good time. As weather conditions improved a few weeks back, we could have sown then, but this week was our first opportunity. Parsnips, along with other root crops, such as carrots, follow on from brassicas in our crop rotation. The brassicas are one of the most greedy feeders, whilst root crops tend to fork if grown in too rich a soil. Therefore, no manure, compost, or other fertiliser was added. The bed was simply weeded and raked over until level and of good texture. Continue reading

Leek and Jerusalem artichoke soup

At this time of year the kitchen garden is looking a bit mean. Thinking back to the old walled gardens that had an estate to feed and the house to supply, it is amazing that they could provide enough food all year round when the garden yields the bulk of its crops over just six or seven months. There are two winter vegetables that did well for us last season, leeks and Jerusalem artichokes, which have the distinct advantage of standing for months and providing a crop over a long period of time. Both are left in the ground and dug when needed. At this time of year, though, the leeks are about to throw up a flower spike and the quality will rapidly decline. The Jerusalem artichokes are just starting to develop some roots and, although they are still rock hard and great to eat, they really need to be harvested and some replanted for next winter’s crop. It seemed like an ideal time to make some soup from these two great winter staples. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 6 – odds and ends

This final article in the series looking at our sowing plans for 2014 covers those odds and ends that did not fit well in any of the previous parts. Included here are the tubers – potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. At some point I would like to experiment with other tubers, such as oca, but I doubt that we will get around to it this year. Also included are various leafy things. Continue reading

Jerusalem artichoke Violet de Rennes

Last spring, 16 April according to my notes, my dad and I planted ten tubers of Jerusalem artichoke Violet de Rennes in the perennial bed, alongside the horseradish and rhubarb. The bed had been well dug, weeds removed as best we could, and the soil improved with horse manure and composted green waste. I cannot recall whether we also added a little fish, blood, and bone, but it is quite possible. After this preparation, nothing more was done. We left them to their own devices. We did not even water them through the dry periods. They grew to a height of eight feet or more, developing hefty stems and healthy foliage, but they did not flower as we were anticipating. Continue reading