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Sunchokes vs Potatos

 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I've planted sunchokes before but they where a small scale spur of the moment side project and I never really got to see their growing cycle. I am very familiar with potatos. I am interested in planting them both in the same place. The place I am thinking of using is a west facing slope with bricked in path next to the houseside at its apex. My though was to plant the sunchokes at the bottom, the potatoes farther up on the hill and put in potato boxes over the flat path. But I don't know what sunchokes grow like - do they shoot up real tall real fast? (enough to shade out the potatoes further back and higher up) am I doing this backwards?
 
John Elliott
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I do believe you are backwards, the potatoes should be at the bottom of the slope and the sunchokes above them. Healthy sunchokes can grow 6'-8' in a season, you don't want them shading the potatoes. Besides, when you hill up the potatoes, you don't want it to get washed down on the sunchokes when it rains. The only problem I see is that you are going to be harvesting the potatoes first, so you need to get to the bottom of the slope, past the sunchokes to do that.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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So I've planted out some sun chokes a bit past where my soil turns from clay loam to sand loam. They like sandy loam right? I laid the sod back down on top of them for the moment since I keep expecting rain (thus far just a nasty wind). If I where to leave say 2/3 of this sod on and allow for gaps in it where the sunchokes to come up would the sunchokes be able to compete with the turf? They are buried just under where the main grass root mass forms. I understand sunchokes are fairly hardy and competitive. Otherwise I'll just pull the sod off again in a few weeks I guess.
 
Steve Hoskins
Posts: 65
Location: NW lower Michigan
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Year one they should be ok.

Year two they will compete well.

Year three you will be scared of their mass... Time to get pigs.

We have a neighbor who has been on her farm for a long time, and her sunchoke patch is in the middle of a grassy area, controlled by mowing a huge path around it. Last year they looked to me like they were crowding each other a bit. No grass in there though.

I don't think she eats Fartichokes.
 
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