What are people's experiences and thoughts on growing perennial tuber crops like sunchokes/jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus), oca (Oxalis tuberosa) & Chinese artichokes (Stachys affinis) and other perennial tuber crops? Do you grow them more like an annual and move them from year to year or do you grow them as a replant perennial in the same spot?
Out of these crops I've the most experience with growing Jerusalem artichokes and have just let them regrow in the same spot year after year, as it's easy to miss some tubers or chuck a few back in when digging them up. But as your digging them up anyway would it not be better to move them to avoid over damaging the ground by redigging the same spot every year, as well as to avoid potential disease problems and lower yields from the ground being over worked by the same crop?
Obviously potatoes could also be grown as a replant perennial but I've never intentionally grown them like this as I'm so used to growing them like an annual and because they're so susceptible to pest problems.
So I guess my question is how do you grow yours? Do you grow them in the same spot and if so how long have you done it? Do you get the same yields year after year? And have you had any particular problems with diseases etc from but moving them?
Also, has anyone grown potatoes as a replant perennial in the same spot? And does anyone know how the Incans used to grow potatoes, did they rotate them or grow them in the same spot?
We have made it a habit to move all crop locations every year.
It helps with keeping the insect pests and vole/mole population down (along with the chickens, hogs and dogs doing patrol and destroy duty).
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 3 years ago
I grow sunroots as a perennial. I dig the patch, and miss tubers while digging, so the next year the patch re-grows in the same spot. I till in the spring, and during the summer to turn the area back into rows rather than leaving it as a wild patch. I till east/west and north/south, so I end up with sunroot clumps growing in a grid pattern.
As a plant breeder, growing sunroots from seeds, I also grow them as an annual. I have to plant the annuals into a place in my field where there are no sunroot weeds, so that I can tell the difference between seedlings and volunteers. It takes a tremendous amount of effort for years after to eradicate sunroots from a spot in the field where they have previously grown. At one time, I had abandoned about 1/10th acre to sunroot weeds. I only grow sunroots in one field. No sense spreading such persistent plants to my other fields.
At my place, potatoes are not reliably winter hardy. I get volunteers some years, but not others.
I have grown sunroots in the same location in a field for 8 years with no noticeable disease or fertility problems. The sunroot stalks and associated weeds get returned to the soil where they grew.
Seeing all the sun root comments I should have mentioned we don't grow any "tubers" in our garden beds, those are grown in above ground containers to keep the moles and voles from getting into them.
My wife doesn't like sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes so we don't grow any tubers except potatoes and sweet potatoes, those are our staple starches.
We do grow several root vegetables such as beets and carrots.