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why no Jerusalem Artichoke Seeds?

 
mark andrews
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I have ordered some tubers and find them to be quite expensive.

So, I wondered why nobody reputable seems to sell seeds for Jerusalem Artichokes.

The plant produces seeds. Why does no one seem to propagate it via seed?

Any insight would be appreciated.

 
Alex Ames
Posts: 393
Location: Georgia
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My experience with them is that all you need is a few tubers and
in no time you will have so many Jerusalem artichokes you won't
know what to do with them all. Leave a few in the ground over winter
and you will have concerns with them taking over your property.

Are you trying to grow them commercially or something?
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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As far as I know, Jerusalem artichoke flowers are nearly always sterile.
Suzanne Ashworth says so, and she should know!
 
mark andrews
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Thanks Leila,

I guess when your tubers propagate as well as JA, you can get by with being "nearly" sterile and still keep spreading.

Now it is beginning to make sense (:

 
William Whitson
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Location: Washington coast
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Seeds aren't all that hard to come by, but like most plants, you tend to get inferior results from new breeding until you do some selection. All of my JAs are seed-grown, so I have a patch with probably hundreds of different varieties in it. Some are the equal of the larger, named varieties. More are small or extra-knobby. If you grow from seed, you will get plants that set seed more easily. If you do this for several generations and eliminate the non-flowering and non-seeding varieties, most of the sterility disappears.

Oikos Tree Crops and Kansas Native Plants are two places that sell seed.
 
Asaf Green
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mark andrews wrote:I have ordered some tubers and find them to be quite expensive.

So, I wondered why nobody reputable seems to sell seeds for Jerusalem Artichokes.



Reading this discussion is quite strange for me because i'm from Jerusalem, Israel, and even more - i never ate one (though they're being sold everywhere).

but I see that you get your help from nearby growers.
בהצלחה
 
Tom Gauthier
Posts: 45
Location: Dry Fork, Virginia
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To Asaf,

Great comment . The "Jerusalem Artichoke" is not from Jerusalem nor is it an artichoke. It is native to American and was actually a staple of the Native American diet long before Europeans invaded. The story is that one of the first Europeans to try the food thought it tasted like an artichoke. "Jerusalem" is just a mistaken label based on another word. Girasole is from Italian for "towards the sun". The Jerusalem Artichoke is in the sunflower family.

-Tom
 
Case Smithey
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Mark, If you are in the US, I could probably hook you up with some starts. I began with one little tuber and they have grown huge over the last year. Not sure what variety I have, but the tubers are like fingerling potatoes, very smooth and great tasting!
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1038
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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I bought two wild plants from a "hippy" at a farmers market.
After tossing them in a container and ignoring them for two years , my wife dug some up and cooked them.
WOW!
So damn good!
So I just spread them all over the yard, but the wife is worried about invasiveness.Says it will out compete anything. The only plant I haven't been able to keep up with is the milkweed(damn them!), are they worse than that?

 
William Whitson
Posts: 50
Location: Washington coast
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It is very hard to totally eliminate them once planted and they spread in about a two foot radius each year. The stolons are fragile, penetrate to irregular depths, and even very small pieces left in the soil will result in new plants.

That said, containing hungry poultry in the area for a couple of months will put an end to them. Pigs would probably do the same.

An another note, I forgot to mention before that sterility is not the main reason why seeds are uncommon. Some varieties don't produce viable pollen. Some varieties only flower under very specific circumstances. But, many varieties do flower and produce viable pollen. The problem is that they are strongly self-incompatible, so you need multiple varieties that flower at the same time in order to get seed reliably. Flowering appears to be timed, at least in part, by rate of growth and rate of growth can differ significantly between varieties.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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If you are anywhere near a market that sells them retail, just go buy some and plant. If you don't mind waiting you could have a decent-sized production in 3 years with a 10 dollar investment.

I'm still eating the kilo of tubers I bought 2 years ago. And so is another member of the family on her land. I have a patch that's about 2 meters in diameter. I'm planning on starting a new patch on another piece of land this year from those same tubers.

Plus I'm buying 10 kilos of seed chokes from a wholesale seed company for another patch.

Sunchokes are super-easy to grow and are expensive on the retail market. Here they sell for 5 dollars/kilo ($2.30 a pound).

William
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 379
Location: South West France
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We thoroughly " cleared" this bed of Jerusalem artichokes last year - but they just kept on coming !



We feed them to the pigs, give them away to neighbours, the chickens eat them and we eat our fair share.

A few tubers are a good investment !

 
S Tarry
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good discussion of jerusalem artichokes from seed here

http://alanbishop.proboards.com/thread/6154/jerusalem-artichoke-true-seeds-trials



 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 355
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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I grew some seeds obtained from Oikos tree crops last spring. Hopefully they'll survive the Fairbanks winter.
 
Mike Turner
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Location: Upstate SC
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It is self incompatible, you have to grow multiple cultivars to get seed. It has been self seedling around my place a bit.
 
David Goodman
gardener
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Location: Zone 9a/8b
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"you have to grow multiple cultivars to get seed"

Ah-ha. So that's why I've never had any pop up.

This winter I planted four different types... I'll probably end up buried in them by next year.
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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growing from tubers means you get plants that produce the same type of tubers, much like growing apples from seed rarely produces a palatable apple, growing sunchokes from seeds is unlikely to produce the lage vigorous tasty tubers we want.
 
David Goodman
gardener
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I don't mind. I grow just about everything from seed, including fruit trees. Genetic diversity FTW. Who knows what cool things may result?
 
Johan Thorbecke
Posts: 36
Location: The Netherlands
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I might have stumbled upon a technique to propagate them in a nice way. Yesteryear I got a few tubers, I put them in a 40cm diameter pot and left it alone until today. The plants never got very high(about 1m). Today I turned the pot over and to my surprise I found a huge amount of marble-size tubers that had already sprouted but would probably never reach the surface.





Chucked them in my old square meter garden because I don't want them to take over my small garden:





I wonder why all the tubes grow many and little and so deep. Perhaps because the sun was shining on the side of the pot and the plants thought they where close to the surface over there?
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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