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Location: North West PA, USA
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I collected some sunroot seeds last year and was going to see if they produce a plant. I only read about people planting the roots like potatoes but never the seeds. Any hints on how to grow sunroot from seed?

Jeff








 
ronie dee
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I heard that most only grow from the tubers. Always heard them called sun chokes or Jerusalem artichokes.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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If they're arranged like sunflowers inside (which they should be...), poke the point down into the soil until the seed is almost covered, and if possible keep debris from obstructing the hull as the root pushes it upward.

The sunflowers I planted didn't come up through mulch; they seemed to need bare soil. This surprised me, from such a high-calorie seed. I had planted the largest seed of the family (or nearly so), so I expect the little seeds you have will also need a bare patch to do well.
 
Brenda Groth
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I agree with Joel as they are of the sunflower family..however, mine never manage to get any seed on them as ours freeze before they can set seed here in Michiigan..I have to move my sunchoke plants to a new garden spot this year..i hear that they are hard to move as you can never get all the roots..so i hope that isn't a problem here..i have changed the design of my garden and really want them in a different area..so we'll see..

let us know how your experiement works..you might try some starts inside as well..or try sprouting some on some damp paper towels or similar matting to see if they are viable.
 
ronie dee
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The Sun chokes are in the Composit family, also known as  the Sunflower family.

I have not ever found a seed yet... I'll keep looking, but i think that is why they won't grow from seed - because there ain't any.

I'll keep looking just in case there may be a rare situation where they form seed.

They grow so well from the tubers that some say once you grow them somewhere - you can't stop them from growing there. I guess you would have to get every last tuber piece out of the ground in order to get them to stop growing.
 
bunkie weir
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i have collected their seeds also and am going to plant this year. i was told by others that these seeds do produce, but the tubers are rather small.
 
                              
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Lots of good advice here... Thanks!

I'll keep a record by posting to this topic.

Pigs will clean out the roots.

The wood chucks and rabbits like to eat the tops before they have a chance to grow so I had to fence them in.

I'll start inside first.


Jeff
 
ronie dee
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I never thought of pigs, but i bet you are right.
 
                              
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Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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I read somewhere that these "Jerusalem Artichokes" were related to the south American "Yacón" which I have been trying to get my hands on, here in the Dom. Rep. I think they have become extinct,  ( they almost became extinct in South America also in the 80s )  because they do not grow by seed, and need humans to propagate.

They have been getting attention recently because of the low digestibility of its sugars, making it a possible natural sugar substitute.

already some companies are starting to market Yacón powder.

I wonder if Yacón and  Jerusalem Artichokes  are one and the same, but just different cultivars.
 
ronie dee
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Is Yacon a composite? (Sunflower family.)
 
Pat Maas
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Hi Tropicguy,
   Have you checked Horizon Herbs for the Yacon? There is also a nursery in Puerto Rico that may have what you need. I'll check my notes for there web address.

Here is one of the websites I know of. Haven't done biz with them.

http://organicfarm.net

 
                              
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Location: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
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Pat Maas wrote:
Hi Tropicguy,
   Have you checked Horizon Herbs for the Yacon? There is also a nursery in Puerto Rico that may have what you need. I'll check my notes for there web address.

Here is one of the websites I know of. Haven't done biz with them.

http://organicfarm.net




Thanks for the link Pat,  noticed they also have Lucuma, which is another tree I want to get my hands on, there is a local Lucuma variety, very handsome tree, but the fruits are very small, Cherepu, cupuaçu, Inga, Mangosteen,  all these I may get from them someday, but ill need a special import permit.

Yacón is not listed for sale, I'll give them a ring, definitely would like visit them someday,  I believe the other PR site, your referring to is "Montoso Gardens".

 
Pat Maas
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Hi Tropicguy,
    You are correct about Montoso Gardens. That is the other one in my notes.
 
                              
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Location: North West PA, USA
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My seeds turned out to be just empty husks..... Doesn't appear to be a very good design. 
 
                    
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I have also heard about using pigs to control sun chokes, we have trouble growing them in the ground between the voles & the deer they get eaten before we can harvest them, this year we used large pots on the porch this year.

I have also heard that you should nip the flower buds off the increase tuber growth, is this true?
 
Brenda Groth
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very interesting to hear that the seeds really didn't amount to much for food or for plants..guess that they don't feel the need to form healthy seed, with healthy reproducing tubers down there.

my tubers multiplied so efficiently, i can see no need for the seeds, but it would be nice if the birds had something from them to eat..

i may have made a mistake in planting so many of my multiplied tubers..as i'm definately well supplied with Jerusalem Artichokes this year..even put a few spare ones in a clay pile over by our pond and they grew..maybe the deer will dig those ones up..for winter food?? Anyone ever hear of deer eating them? We don't really have wild pigs around here.
 
                    
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I suppose it depends on how hungry the deer are.

So I'm wondering if sun chokes have always been seedless or if the ones we get a hold of are hybrids?
 
Brenda Groth
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i know deer will paw up overwintered carrots, turnips and parsnips, but not sure about sunchokes as we only had a few last winter left in the ground, I'll leave a few this year and see
 
                                
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The USDA plants database shows a picture of seeds for Helianthus tuberosus:
http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch?keywordquery=helianthus+tuberosus&mode=sciname&submit.x=18&submit.y=13

The book Forest Plants of the Southeast by Miller and Miller also describes the seeds and says, "Spreads by animal dispersed seeds."

I know that sunflowers produce empty seeds if the flowers aren't pollinated. Has there been pollinator activity around your Jerusalem artichoke flowers?
 
Mike Turner
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I could be you need to be growing more than one clone to get viable seed.  I'm growing several clones here and I have lots of sunchoke seedlings popping up as far as 400 feet away from the sunchoke bed.
 
              
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What is the best time of year to plant Sunchoke tubers?

I have been thinking about trying them out for a while now.
 
Mike Turner
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If you have access to the entire plant, you can transplant them like any other perennial with a big root ball during the growing season.  Tubers can be planted anytime between when they mature in late summer and when they start growth in the spring.  Since they are invasive and allelopathic, it is best to give them their own bed and not try to mix them with other veggies in your garden.
 
                    
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Thanks basjoos,

I didn't know that you could do that.
 
rose macaskie
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sepp holzer uses them to feed his pigs doesn't he?
 
                              
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They are from one planting so next year I'll plant a row next to them and see if that helps. This is the second or third year they came up so the deers must not bother them too much.

A small field of them sure would make a nice food bank for winter, just in case.
 
                    
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Yes it seems like a small field of them would be a great resource.

After you dig them up how do you store them & how long do they keep?
 
                              
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Location: North West PA, USA
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Two weeks in the fridge.... I learned that it's best to keep the buggers in the ground, home sweet home. Anyhow they taste better the longer their in the ground. Or it seems.
 
                    
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thanks, puffergas , mine are in pots, do you think I can bring them in when hard freeze comes & keep them on the porch or something?
 
Jordan Lowery
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out of the fridge they don't last long at all.  i made that mistake before. harvested a ton, something came up had to go work on it, came back and they were all dried like rasins. now i store them in a sunken ice cooler filled with dry-ish sand.
 
                              
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Dianne Keast wrote:
thanks, puffergas , mine are in pots, do you think I can bring them in when hard freeze comes & keep them on the porch or something?


Hi Dianne,

Never tried growing them in pots. I would think they would store nicely in pots if kept cold. Of course I never tried that.
 
                    
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I may not get many we've had so little sun this year but if I have enough that I need to store them I
ll give it a trey in the pots.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Popping into an old thread to add photos of sunroot seeds.

Sunroots are self-incompatible, so it takes two or more unrelated clones for them to make seeds. Also birds are ravenous predators of sunroot seeds in my garden, so I typically bag flowers if I want to save seeds. Winnowing is a good method to separate the empty shells from those that might actually germinate. I plant seeds either directly in the ground about the time apples are flowering, or I start them in pots and transplant.

Sunroot seeds after winnowing.


Bagging to save seeds from birds


Oh so sweet!


Sunroot Seedlings.


Older seedlings.


Tags: Jerusalem artichoke, sunchoke
 
Burra Maluca
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I was very honoured to receive some of Joseph's sunroot seed earlier this year.  Unfortunately, as often happens with such a long journey, the seed seems to have suffered, possibly irradiated on the way over, and the germination rate was very low.  I only got two seedlings.  And then we had an incredibly hot, dry summer and not one of my sunroots flowered, not even the local variety that usually flowers very freely, so no seeds of any description.

Both of the seedlings grew, one much better than the other, and we dug them up a couple of days ago to see if they'd managed to produce tubers.  They had!

I knew that Josheph's sunroot genetics includes a lot of pretty colours, and I was really hoping for purple.

Here's the first plant - there are some tubers there!



And on closer inspection, they have exceedingly pretty purple tips.  I think I was dancing in glee at this point.



And then, the second, smaller plant.  Just look at these ones! 



I'm an exceedingly happy Burra.  I'm going to replant all the tubers, and a few of any local ones I can find, and hope that next year they might actually flower and produce some seed for me so I can try to grow out a few more and do a bit of selection to produce my own purple-ish landrace.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Burra: Thanks for the grow report. I'm glad that you got some purple tubers. I had one plant this year with super-purple tubers. I was hyped! It had some traits that are not ideal, but the purple color made it worth keeping. One year I found a plant that had red-leaves in the fall. I expect that some of those genetics may still be in the seeds I'm sharing.

A few different kinds of purple tubers.


Red colored leaves in the fall.
 
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