Jerusalem Artichokes | Propagation
Spacing, sun, soil type and tuber size
Jerusalem Artichokes are one of the easiest plants to grow, and thrive in most gardens, fields and even containers (preferably large 5 gallon buckets). That being said, if you want maximum yield, plant them in 3 foot rows at a depth of 4 - 6 inches, with a plant every two feet.
Soil should be fertile and well draining with a pH of 5.8 to 7 and free of pesticides and heavy metals. Jerusalem Artichokes have been used for phytoremediation and readily accumulate toxins if they're around; make sure you have good soil!
Jerusalem Artichokes are related to Sunflowers; they do best in sunny spots, but can tolerate partial shade as well.
Like potatoes, JA tubers can be cut into pieces, as long as there is at least one bud per piece, and the pieces are between 45 and 60 grams - any smaller and you'll end up with a reduced yield.
Harvest and storage
Harvesting of tubers can begin in late fall when the plant has died back (wait for a few hard frosts to maximize the sweetness). After cutting the stalk at the base of the plant, cover the plants with insulation (dried leaves) and harvest in situ throughout winter.
JA tubers have relatively thin skin, which leaves them prone to dehydration much faster than say, a potato. While we find keeping them in the ground to be most cost and space effective storage method, fridge storage is a possible option. Jerusalem Artichokes have been found to keep between 6 and 12 months if kept between 0 and 2°C, with high humidity. This can be achieved by moistening the tubers, sealing them in ziplock bags and placing them in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the crisper).
(by the way)...We like it cold here in Canada
For successful sprouting, tubers must undergo a period of dormancy, brought on by exposure to low temperatures near 0°C. Dormancy is broken by temperatures between 0 and 5°C. A winter without freezing cold will result in sporadic sprouting, with the majority of the crop staying dormant. Let's hope for cold!!