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Sun Chokes are Bulletproof: but what else?

 
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I am so impressed with the vitality of the Jerusalem artichoke I don't know what to say.  They are a powerhouse of awesomeness akin to mint or comfrey.

Are there any other plants out there that can compete with the Jerusalem Artichoke?  


What edible can you plant that is as low maintenance and hardy as the sunchoke?




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First Year Sun Choke Patch 2019
First Year Sun Choke Patch 2019
 
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Blackberry and greenbrier are bulletproof in my area. But my comfrey plant died its second year, and the sunchokes died back early last year after the deer found them. Fingers crossed that the flowers come back this year.
 
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Hazelnuts are pretty tough here.
 
Scott Foster
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Nikki Roche wrote:Blackberry and greenbrier are bulletproof in my area. But my comfrey plant died its second year, and the sunchokes died back early last year after the deer found them. Fingers crossed that the flowers come back this year.



Nikki, I've seen other people talking about having a hard time with comfrey.  It must be where I live.  If I throw a comfrey plant on a compost pile it will root.

I would bet my bottom dollar that the sunchokes come back
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:Hazelnuts are pretty tough here.



Good one.   They are pretty tough here too.  No catkins yet.
 
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Please explain better what a sunchoke is...   The messages are not all that educational for the rookies.   If the sunchoke is an artichoke,  what part of the plant do you eat ?

I live in Atlanta, GA and last year I threw kale, and spinach seeds all through my bush beds after I raked out last years pinestraw and I had more salad greens than I could eat
and I did nothing but scatter the seeds and rake lightly into the dirt....  oh well I did make sure they never went more than one day without water. ( rain or manual )

Is there something else nutritious that I can plant that will be as easy ?
 
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In the realm of annual vegetables, I can't think of anything quite as bulletproof as sunchokes, but in my area, okra comes close.  I can literally put okra seeds in a two inch hole in the middle of a hammered former cow pasture and they will grow, even without irrigation.  They won't precisely thrive, but they'll make at least a few edible pods.  Give them a little bit of water and some uncompacted soil, and they'll make a crop for you.  I've never seen a bug that bothers about them, and nothing seems to eat the pods except people.  (Well, I don't know about deer; my dogs keep them away from my areas pretty well.)
 
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Scott Perkins wrote:Please explain better what a sunchoke is...  



A sunchoke is also known as a Jerusalem Artichoke.  The name has changed to sunchoke over the years since it's NOT an artichoke, nor is it from Jerusalem.  You eat the tuber and enjoy the sunflower-like flowers.
 
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They are very easy to grow, assuming the right climate, but when you take into account the low calories and the problems many people have eating them regularly or in larger amounts, it takes away a bit of the shine.  That's a lot of digestive distress per calorie for many people.  They can be a wonderfully care-free emergency reserve of almost food though.  Skirret and tartar bread plant are two tough root crops that tend to be about as hardy as sunchokes under similar conditions.
 
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Strawberry spinach aka. beetberry is almost an invasive thanks to my chickens spreading the seeds. Red orach self seeds, I don't have to plant it anymore.
 
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This such a regional thing.  Where I'm from in western Oregon, people often killed sunchokes.  People warned me that they would become weeds - and then they just couldn't deal with the clay and wet and buttercup on my prop.  I gave up on them.  

But leeks, green onions and Portugese kale became most wonderful perennialized staple crops.  Also blackberries and pigweed amaranth, but that's Oregon for you.  The pigweed amaranth is really good though, we would harvest and freeze it, along with wild nettles.  Tomatillos came back for years, too, wherever the soil was disturbed, and fingerling potatoes became perennial... though I lost the taste for the latter.

Now I'm in the desert SW and hoping to find out what the "bulletproof" crops will be here.  Prickly pear and mesquite grow wild. And are yummy.
 
Scott Foster
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Scott Perkins wrote:Please explain better what a sunchoke is...   The messages are not all that educational for the rookies



Hi Scott,

I think Mike pretty much nailed it with the explanation.  Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke is a hardy tuber that some use as a backup for potatoes.  In my micro-climate these things are awesome.  If I hear a warning about "not"  planting something because it will take over your garden.  It has the opposite effect on me, I want to plant it out.

The picture I posted is, I  believe the stampede variety of sunchoke I planted the year before last.   I keep them in check by mowing over them.  To the casual observer, they look like a sunflower.

Dig down and you'll find a bunch of edible tubers that you can 1. cook and eat or 2. replant to increase the size of your patch.    Other than keeping them in check they are zero maintenance. I can just forget about them.  I wouldn't want them to be a primary source of sustenance but I'm glad they are growing.  

Keep in mind I have 3 acres so space isn't an issue.  If you have a small gardening area maybe try pots.

 
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Kim Goodwin wrote:Now I'm in the desert SW and hoping to find out what the "bulletproof" crops will be here.  Prickly pear and mesquite grow wild. And are yummy.



I lived north of Phoenix for a decade.  Spanish Arbequina Olives did well. (A major time investment though.)
 
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I find forage/torpedo radish be bullet proof.
Breed from diakon, I get the seeds cheap by the pound.
They are sold as a cover crop or for deer plots.
Anyway,  they grow fast, create tons of tasty leaves and seed pods,  and a root that is good but can easily get too spicy/tough, even after cooking.
They self seed,  but don't stay established for me,  so they need to be sown every year.

Grape vines are also super tough for me,  but getting a useable harvest is another thing entirely.

We have a plum tree that is super productive and absolutely bullet proof.
Late frost,  insect attack,  nothing seems to stop it from making tasty plums.
Just be ready to use/ preserve them somehow as they come on like gangbusters and the ripe ones are RIPE,  almost like a wine jelly,  very hard to do anything with other than eat them straight from the tree.
This year I hope to make juice and fruit leather.

Tomatoes always do something for me,  even when they are ignored/abused.
I prefer varieties that are 60 days or less to harvest,  and indeterminate,as they give me more fruit,  longer.
 
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dill. got it in one of those seed paper strips form a fundraiser, laid it down, wetted it and left. it grew very well and self-seeds very well. I let it go for years and it came back stronger every year. love the taste, though it doesn't bring many calories. would probably work well as a green manure or the like. Peas and beans, maybe? I direct sowed a bit ago and apparently didn't do it deep enough because the seeds were laying on the surface, but they had sprouted very nicely. the carrots i planted last year sprouted easily enough, but the ants ate tunnels through them all
 
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I'm almost ashamed to tell this but I've planted 6 lbs of Jerusalem artichoke over the past three years in different properties and it seems they are all cursed to live only one season. Possibly from the heavy deer pressure in the area...they were a great sacrifice crop.

My go to veggies that are bullet proof are kentucky wonder beans planted in deep mulch radishes from seed on any disturbed soil and zucchini. Around here people have zucchini sitting in boxes by the road with a sign saying please take some and I've had more than one friend dump several giant zucchinis in my truck bed while I wasn't looking.

American filbert  never seem to fail either
 
Trace Oswald
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William Bronson wrote:

We have a plum tree that is super productive and absolutely bullet proof.



I would love to buy some stones from them this fall if you save some.  I'm planting as many varieties of plums as I can for my food forest, as well as outlying areas.
 
William Bronson
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Trace,  I would be glad to send you some,  though they ripen in early summer.
Do they grow from dried pits, or do they need to stay moist?
 
Trace Oswald
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William Bronson wrote:Trace,  I would betray to send you some,  though they ripen in early summer.
Do they grow from dried pits, or do they need to stay moist?



As far as I know, they need to stay damp. I put them in damp vermiculite or damp moss to keep them.
 
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