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how sunchokes spread or don't spread  RSS feed

 
Kelda Miller
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I'm wondering if I can mulch my paths with the prodigious amount of biomass generated by my sunchoke (jerusalem artichoke) patch. BUT, could the plant potentially propagate by stem and leaf nodes?

I like my sunchoke patch where it is but I'm not sure I want sunchokes coming up in all of my pathways.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Sprouts of sunflower seeds are edible, if not particularly appealing in texture. If sprouts do come up in the path, you might try harvesting them like asparagus, leaving out the part where you let the plant grow and recover.
 
Leila Rich
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I'm pretty sure they only propagate by tubers (I say 'only', but if you missed a baby, or piece of tuber, you'll have a path full of artichokes!)
 
Brenda Groth
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yeah with some of my sunchokes tops being well over 9 to 10 feet tall, i also am considering using some for mulch..and honestly I don't think they would sprout from the tops..but wow if they do..big o problems.

i have tons of tops..haven't frozen here yet..so I am also thinking of cutting the tops after a frost and using them to mulch a path in my woods..as well as alot of other tall plant tops.

i have an area of the woods path that has some low stumps and holes that would level out nicely with some mulch..and both myself and hubby have trip and fall issues..so level and no stumps sticking up would be great..and i even woke up in the night thinking of mulching the area over those stumps and holes to preven trip and fall, although mulch is uneven as well..at first..but after a winter of breakdown might fill in more evenly..and it is only a quick jaunt from my sunchoke patch.

i did cut down a couple last week, and left the tops on the ground and they just seemed to dry up and rot quickly
 
Kelda Miller
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I think I'll go for it, but just start with the paths nearest the sunchokes anyway. They haven't fully opened their flowers yet, so seed is not an issue. I'll keep y'all posted
 
Brenda Groth
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seed is generally not a problem with jerusalem artichokes
 
                          
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I do most of my jerusalem artichokes in large containers; city garden and all. I do have 10 footers with no flowers yet. Eating some tonight in stir fry; these came from my spiral. Given they are pretty plant not sure if I am worried about invasiveness especially if they take over the butter cup and morning glory.
 
Brenda Groth
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with my huge amount of jerusalem artichokes i have growing this year one thing i did really learn from them is how great a  privacy screen they make..maybe not quickly as they do take a while to grow, but thickly and HUGE..however several of mine are falling over with the huge winds we are having this week.

i might never have thought of them as a privacy screen had i not had a lot of them planted nearby a garden swing where I enjoyed sitting..but i did notice while sitting in that swing it was like being in a jungle, with no one really able to see me..

several of my other plants nearby also grew quite tall and thick (an amaranth love lies bleeding and some annual cosmos i put in for the predatory insects grew enormously as well as the fronds of my asparagus)..this was the most comfortable I have felt sitting in my garden swing this year..no one seeing you.

may  even consider planting them where i need some quick privacy next spring, although not permanent screen, it sure was thick and lucious this year
 
Brenda Groth
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useful article on sunchokes in this months Mother Earth News Magazine..
 
Brenda Groth
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ah spriing, with Jerusalem artichokes by the hundreds !!! and I love it.

I can't believe that a simple sunflower can provide so much delicious food and can be a privacy screen and can also be given to friends and family to feed them ..forever.

what a wonder food

earlier this spring our neighbors wanted to try the JA's..so I dug them up about 5 quarts..they cooked them and begged for more..they  brought over a wagon so I filled it half full with fresh sunchokes and they planted about half of them, ate some for supper, looked onliine to find out how to freeze them (slice blanch tray freeze) and then even cooked some stir fry after freezing to make sure they worked..and came back to tell me how wonderful they were.

yesterday i dug up about a dozen plants...which gave me enough to plant about a double row 50 along the property line to fill in a gap in the fence where the dogs from neighbors like to cut caross our property..maybe this will deter them..also planted another 40' row north of our food forest garden..and still have 2 rows to dig up..I made the mistake of dropping a small tuber on the soil..yesterday..Ron (my husabnd) found it and started eating it dirt and all and that got him wanting some, so we proceeded to dig up one for supper..today, and got 20 huge tubers from that one plant..brought them in and washed them and fried them in the bacon grease in the cast iron pan on the stove..that's all we had..for supper, with a tall glass of spring water and some seasoning of course.

they are truely a wonder food aren't they ?

hard to believe something so undemanding, that can divide itself into so many tasty tuvers is so easy to grow, and doesn't have to be canned, frozen or dried, stays right in the ground where you want them until you dig them and eat them..

I sure love those little sunchokes
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think I killed mine.  I can kill anything. 
 
Emerson White
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I'm not terribly familiar with sunchokes (thought I have some experience with wild sunflowers, which presumably are very closely related) but I can't imagine them being able to come up in a well worn path. Only the toughest of turf grasses can stand repeatedly being trod upon. Just walk through a few times a day and make a point of stepping on anything that looks like it is sprouting up and I'm sure you will have no problem.
 
Brenda Groth
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I have been putting the stalk/root mess on my brush piles..they are quite hard and woody, I'm sure they could be burned too, but I didn't want to bury them as they might sprout where I didn't want them and they are a bit coarse for mulch..I also thought i might try tossing a few through the chipper and see how they work out that way but wouldn't want to put the chips where a bit of root might grow ..either..so right now I'm happy with the detrius going on my brush pile..

anyone have any good use for the stems/roots that are left?? (not the tubers)
 
Jordan Lowery
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brenda your doing the best practice. once dried they wont resprout, i also toss them on the brush piles.

do you have deer eating them? so far ive only grown them in a area that deer cant get into. if they don't id love to do a living seasonal sunchoke fence.
 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
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Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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please confirm, I know everyone doesn't want sunchokes to rampage, But I do want it to go rampant for me.
Muscovy ducks chomp into it like it's going out of style and they murdered everything last year. This year i'm planting 200 and hoping to have a problem. If I could get leaf crop for the ducks by laying plant's down, we would have both hit the lotto. If nobody is confirming, then I can't afford the slash down and bury anything, and neither can my bee's.
 
Brenda Groth
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OMG, every place I dug up the sunchokes they came back, obviously I didn't get them all !
 
Kelda Miller
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SaybianTV,
I'm not quite sure what you're asking.
Sunchokes do come up from any tiny underground rhizome piece, and those will spread farther than you think. They're vegetative parts don't propagate however in regular garden use. You could be cutting sunchoke stalks to feed to the ducks, but keep the ducks and sunchokes separated, or let the sunchokes get a head start, and then they wouldn't destroy the whole plant.
 
                                    
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ive been growing sunchokes right next to a well worn path and they never come up in it... the seeds are viable but rarely do they sprout on their own... i think this plant has been propagated vegetatively for a long time and doesn't need great seed viability... that being said the seeds and sprouts are edible as someone else posted... the stalks are a little bulky and wouldn't be the nicest thing to walk on in the path... although i understand your reasons for doing it.... i understand peoples frustrations with not getting all the tubers and having the plants become rampant.. i can never get them all... a path would make a good barrier to keep them from getting out of control... i'm also thinking of pairing them with an overwintering pea next year to put a check on some of that rampancy and hopefully get a pea crop out of it.... i noticed the peas starting their growth much earlier than the sunchokes this year (although when they do start to grow though they grow fast!) but it seems like they are about on par with each other right now... which gives me hope that I can pair them together.
 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
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aww shucks, I was hoping the original worry "that it could root like bamboo at the nodes" into my easy way to spread madness. ohwell I'll just keep sticking them in until there out of season. Do they cut and come again like comfrey and alfalfa? I really want them to flower for my bee's so if it could screw them up I'll just live with them as a junglelafying feature of the yard
 
                                    
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i'm pretty sure they don't root at the nodes... I haven't tried just sticking the stalks in the ground but I have a feeling it won't work... they are aggressive enough i think once they are established... as far as cut and come again... I have done this before but the plants simply branch out... i haven't tried to do this regularly or come up with a management plan including cutting them occasionally.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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they really don't seem to have nodes to me, my observation, never thought to try to cut them for mulch, good idea, it is also good to know that they don't seem to spread into paths..wonder if mowing keeps them at bay?

i have way more than I need now, guests welcome to remove them
 
                        
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I've composted plenty of the stalks and none have ever grown; you should be OK as long as no roots or seeds are included.
 
Mike Turner
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Brenda Groth wrote:
seed is generally not a problem with jerusalem artichokes


Only if you grow one cultivar (they are self-sterile) or you are growing several cultivars that bloom at different  times.  If you grow multiple cultivars that bloom at the same time, then they can produce seed and seedlings can appear at distances of a few hundred feet away from the sunchoke patch. 
 
Brenda Groth
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do they cross with other sunflowers?
 
Mike Turner
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You can breed the various annual and perennial Helianthus species to produce hybrids.  The Land Institute is currently running a breeding program to produce a perennial oilseed sunflower.
 
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