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Sprouting sunchokes late season

 
Fredy Perlman
Posts: 55
Location: Mason Cty, WA
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I've got a breadbag full of sunchoke tubers (raised from store-bought tubers), about 8 pounds, that I harvested in December, hoping to plant them. I had no land, and now they've sprouted pretty badly---knitted together into a cylinder of rootlets and sprouts. We usually have frost no later than December here in NYC zone 6.

I've started participating in the establishment of a community garden, and am wondering if these could be planted there for any purpose...not food, probably, this late in the year, but remediation? Decoration? Any thoughts? Worst case I'll probably throw the tuber-tube in the soil anyway, but better it should be useful. Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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Posts: 9413
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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You could plant them, let them grow up, go dormant, and then mulch them heavily and see if they will overwinter and sprout again next year.
 
Jessica Padgham
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Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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I would get them in the ground or in a pot and get what growth you can out of them for this year.  It's going to give them a better chance of surviving the winter.  I'd be surprised if you get any blooms but at least they will be able to photosynthesize for a couple months.
 
Fredy Perlman
Posts: 55
Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Thanks Tyler and Jessica,

Yeah, though I couldn't find anything about planting sunchokes after spring, I'll just give these a run since they're fighting for life.  Will post any interesting results for those curious about post-spring sunchoke planting.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Fredy Perlman wrote:I've started participating in the establishment of a community garden, and am wondering if these could be planted there for any purpose...


Do you hate your community that much? Sunroots are one of the most persistent weeds on my farm. And one of the most vigorous, and most capable of out-competing the vegetables. I do not recommend them in a community garden.

 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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In my climate they get heat/drought stressed if grown without irrigation, and may not produce edible-sized roots.  At the edge of my garden and irrigated, they produce nicely but tend not to return in spring if left in the ground.  I believe they are being eaten by underground nibblers, and I think it's a question of establishment; there is a reliable wild patch near me with small roots that comes back every spring no problem.

I keep my propagation tubers in a ziplock in the fridge over winter.  This spring I discovered a bag of them with a fall 2014 date.  Some were moldy slime and there were many rootlets in a gnarled nasty mess, but I separated and planted them and they sprouted fine after 1.5 years in the fridge.

They also grow well in containers, albeit not producing a huge crop due to (I suspect) limited root space.  This late in the year, you won't get tubers if you plant them in a pot, but "everyone says" they grow from root chunks as well, though I have not tried it.  So in your shoes my strategy would be to separate them (don't worry about breakage) and put a few back into the fridge for planting next spring (if you have land by then, or place for a big pot).  The rest I would plant in soil now.  Come your first frost, dig up and save the largest roots or any tiny tubers that you have; they ought to be fine for planting in spring also. 
 
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