Tyler Ludens wrote:Craig, do you feed the whole tubers to the chickens, or do you process them in any way?
For the Southern Planter. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE.
Mr. Editor, — In your paper (the Southern Planter, Vol. III. No. 4, page 1,) is an article on the cultivation and value of the Jerusalem Artichoke, (Heleanthus Tuberosus.) If you have that paper I would like for you to publish it again in the Southern Planter, and state under the piece that I have a crop of them now growing and if any person wishes to give them a trial they can be supplied with seed any time between now and the next spring. They may be planted any time from now until the first of March. For the information of those who are not acquainted with them, and perhaps might suppose that they are the common round artichoke growing generally in this section of country, I would state that they are quite a different root, resembling the Spanish or sweet potato and the color of the yam potato. I have for several years wished to procure seed, but have been unable until last winter to do so. A gentleman living in Nash county, North Carolina, brought a small quantity from Tennessee a few years back, in his carriage ; from them he raised a crop, whence I got mine. I have been told that they are much prized in Tennessee and Alabama for their great profit in raising and fattening hogs. If they be of so much value in those countries where corn is raised so plentifully and sells so low, of how much more value ought they to be in this country where corn is so much dearer. The artichoke is the easiest crop to 1 cultivate of any that is made by ploughing and hoeing — and after they are made there is no risk in losing, for the place where they grow is the best to preserve them through the winter, and turning the hogs on them, saves the trouble of digging.
Nath'l Mason. Summit Depot, Northampton, N. C.
In compliance with this request, we re-publish the following :
"From the fact, that many inquiries have been made of late in relation to this very remarkable and useful plant, I am disposed to speak a few things of its culture and uses. — The Jerusalem artichoke is a native of the warmer parts of America, and of course was unknown in Europe till after the discoveries in this country by Columbus and his coadjutors. Since that time it has been cultivated to consi- derable extent on the continent as well as in Great Britain, but the reports of its profits have considerably varied, in that, as well as this country. In the Old World some have culti- vated it to afford shade to the game ; others have converted the stocks and leaves into fodder for cattle, and others again, have encouraged its growth for the tubers alone. In this country there are two important objects to be kept in mind in raising artichokes; 1st. The improvement of land ; 2dly. The use of the tubers. — However, the first matter is the cultivation, and I begin with
1. Soil. -- Almost any kind of land will produce artichokes, and it is remarkable, that they will grow in the shade, that is, under trees, or in fence corners very well indeed. Land, how- ever, with a tolerably good sandy mould will give the most abundant crop. Low, wet, soils, and very tenacious clay are not so suitable.
2. Preparation of Land. — The ground should be broken as for corn, that is to say, one good, deep ploughing, and a thorough harrowing will answer the purpose admirably.
3. Laying Out. — Rows laid off four feet each way with a bull's tongue or shovel plough, in most soils, will be the proper distance.
4. Quantity of Seed. — From four to five bushels will be required to the acre, and unless the long roots are broken to pieces of three or four joints, or eyes each, this quantity will not be enough.
5. Manner of Planting. — Drop one root at each cross of the plough and cover from one to two or three inches with a harrow, hoe, or plough.
6. Cultivation. — So soon as the young plants appear, run round them, with a cultivator, har- row or light plough to destroy the young weeds, and loosen the earth. Keep the ground free of weeds and open to the influence of the atmosphere, till the plants are about three feet high, when they should be laid by, by the use of a cultivator; or in the absence of a cultivator and when the land has been ploughed, the harrow should pass both ways to leave the ground loose and the surface level. Generally, about the same cultivation given to corn will answer well for artichokes.
7. Digging. — This is the most troublesome job in the management of this crop ; and if the hoe is the dependance, the labor will be very tedious. The better plan, is to lay off a land as for breaking up the ground, so soon as the frost has killed the under leaves of the stocks. The plough should run from six to nine inches deep and let the hands, big and little, pass di- rectly after the plough, to pick up, that none of the roots may be covered by the next furrow.
8. Yield. — The produce to the acre is va- riously estimated from five hundred to one thou- sand bushels, and it is probable the turn out on medium land would be nearer the latter than the former.
9. Uses. — In England and other parts of Europe, the tubers have been considered quite a delicacy for man, and without doubt they make the most beautiful pickle. But their chief importance, in this respect, is their use in feeding hogs. From the middle of October to the middle of November, the hogs may be turned on the artichokes, and with salt always in troughs to which they can have access, they will grow T and thrive till next spring, particularly, if the ground is not too hard for rooting. I have not experimented to ascertain the quantity of hogs to the acre of good artichokes; but from the observation of two seasons, I am of the opinion twenty head will do well on an acre for months. As some have complained their hogs would not root after them, it may be necessary, as hogs, like men, know not much before learning, that they be taught to root after them. This is clone, by calling the hogs after a plough that will throw out the roots, till the grunters learn their habitation, which will re- quire but a very short time.
10. Improvement of Land. — As the stocks grow from ten to fifteen feet in height, and have thick, porous foliage, much of the food of the plant is received from the atmosphere, and thereby the soil is not so heavily taxed as by other crops, the ground is protected from the killing rays of the sun and the stocks and leaves fall and rot very soon, — these advantages, with the manure from hogs, afford the cheapest, and amongst the richest coats in my knowledge. — It is my conviction, (in the absence of long experience) that artichokes in summer, and hogs in winter, will enrich our poor lands cheaper and much better than upon any other plan. To be sure, a farmer cannot have all his land in ar- tichokes, but every one should have enough to support his hogs through the winter, and I venture those who give this crop a fair trial, will reluctantly abandon it.
11. General Remarks. — A few farmers of my acquaintance have informed me, that they have succeeded with corn and artichokes together, and it is highly probable this will prove a successful mode of cultivating these two crops; but on the system of 1 one thing at a time,' we would prefer each crop separately. Some have supposed the second year's growth on the same ground would be more valuable than the first ; but this is a mistake. The plants grow so thick the second year, that not more than half a crop can be anticipated. It might answer, to plough out rows and cultivate the second year ; but the practice of putting artichoke lands in something else the second year, is the plan 1 much prefer.
Amongst the arguments which might be used in favor of this crop, it should not be forgotten, that there is no labor of digging, but for seed ; that more troublesome weeds and grasses are completely smothered out ; and last, but not least, the young plants the second year are more easily subdued than almost any weeds known. Take artichokes, all in all, I think them worthy the attention of every farmer who wishes to enrich his lands, or raise his pork with a small outlay of grain. T. F.