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Jerusalem Artichokes/sunchokes

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  • Jerusalem Artichokes/sunchokes

    Hi! I am thinking of ordering some sunchokes. There's not alot of pics of all the different varieties. I found pics of Stampede,White and Red Fuseau, and Red Rover. Can anyone post pics(tubers) of other varieties than the above? I think it would help me decide which one I'd like. Plus, you can post pics and brag of how well you can grow them

    Oh, I almost forgot, Do all sunchoke flowers smell like chocolate?
    I hope this is the right forum. Thanks

  • #2
    Hello!

    I am having a difficult time locating any actual photographs of different varieties than what you have named, but I can tell you that our Seed Savers Exchange members offer quite a few different varieties with descriptions of each (no pictures) in our Yearbook. One must be a member to receive this publication though and if you are interested in further information feel free to contact us about it. Best of luck!

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    • #3
      ChristinaJoMD, i too cannot provide pictures (until i learn how to do that, being such a cyberdolt), which is absurd, seein's i grow over a ton of them every yr. and am the supplier of all 4 vars. sold by Moose Tubers/Fedco Seeds. Those four are Clearwater, Skorospelko, Nakhodka, and Waldspinel. To date, my hands-down favourites are Clearwater and Skorospelko (out of my preservation collection of 80+ vars. Clearwater, which i discovered literally in my backyard, is most notable for its lack of "boobs", making it easy to wash and (absurd!) peel. It also has phenomenal dormancy, holding well in cellar storage without sprouting. Moreover i've tried them in the spring when tops were well above ground and found the tubers amazingly firm and crisp, when the sprouting should have made them go all pithy. Average yield though. Skorospelka is an offshoot of a Soviet-era breeding programme which attempted to make crosses with sunflowers, their kissing cousins. It is a reddish tuber, bodacious yielder, and also conveniently knob-free. Both of those can be purchased from Moose Tubers or, in small quantities, directly from me. As Sarah says, i have dozens of other vars. (which by the way we call terrasols, barely related to artichokes of any ilk), listed in SSE yearbook, but if i had to chose one of two, them's the ones. I'll figure out the photo thing someday; this is after all the 21st century.

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      • #4
        I was hoping to continue with this thread by asking Will Bonsall a couple of questions about sunchokes... I promise to take pictures if I grow them this year. I have heard that they can be rather invasive, that it's a good idea to make a mowed path around a stand of them to keep them from taking over a field. This might be wishful thinking but I just wondered how fast they can spread. The other question was whether they will cross breed with sunflowers, since they are so closely related.. which would make either strange looking flowers or not so tasty tubers.

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        • #5
          They don't cross with sunflowers.
          They definitely smell like chocolate. I use them as cutflowers with sunflowers and zinnias a lot.

          I have Stampede and Red Fuseau. My first suggestion is to trade for them, not to purchase them. They are incredibly prolific and so I don't see why they cost so much! I sell a heaping quart for $2-3 at market.

          Stampede are more knobby but easier to dig and more productive. Fuseau are later to produce, smoother but much smaller and their roots go further so they are more work to dig.

          I don't have a problem with invasion yet. I have grown them since 2008. I have a row of them outside the garden in the weeds that actually produces. The rest are on the edge of the garden space (I use a field and where I stop is where the sunchokes are, beyond that is cover crop and not irrigated.) although they do better when irrigated well.

          I don't have photos of the roots but they can be seen in catalogs.

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          • #6
            SOMAINE : re. your concern about terrasols (aka Jerusalem artichokes) spreading: the reputation they have for being persistent where you plant them is well deserved. According to one story, this is how you eradicate them: dig out all tubers (and aromas of tubers) to a depth of 36 inches, sifting all soil carefully. Put tubers thru a quisinart to finely shred them. Dry them for several hot days on pavement, after which burn them in a very hot fire (be extremely careful where you spread the ashes). More seriously, a patch can be eradicated by repeated tilling - at least thrice - for a whole season. Having said that, the fear of them becoming invasive is, in my,experience, ill-founded. Their rate of spread depends on the length of the "runners" - usually less than 6-8 inches. Some varieties such as Dave's Shrine are much rowdier and may spread twice as fast (still less than 6") and that's only if you quite neglect them. The better varieties (Skorospelko) have been bred for compact set, which means you stand a better chance of getting them all. Sorry, i don't get to check out this (or any other site) that regularly.

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            • #7
              I must be in the minority. I want some invasive food.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BONSAI_OUTLAW View Post
                I must be in the minority. I want some invasive food.
                I also love invasive food,
                I have quite a collection now.

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                • #9
                  When one comes up where I don't want it, I recognize the foliage and transplant it.

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                  • #10
                    thanks re clearwaters

                    Thank you both for the information. I have an old farmhouse in Southern Maine and someone long ago planted the dreaded Japanese Bamboo ( which it should be noted, is in fact edible) and I do not need something else I have to slash and burn ( and slash and burn and slash and burn, and it comes up again anyway). For those who would seriously think of having an edible alien invasive, it tastes like rhubarb, and you are welcome over anytime, I will point it out and you can take all the bamboo you like. I actually moved my rhubarb because it was being taken over by the nasty stuff, but I digress. I look forward to getting some clearwaters off you this spring, I figure it's practically the native Maine tuber. Thanks again for the response.

                    Originally posted by Will Bonsall View Post
                    SOMAINE : re. your concern about terrasols (aka Jerusalem artichokes) spreading: the reputation they have for being persistent where you plant them is well deserved. According to one story, this is how you eradicate them: dig out all tubers (and aromas of tubers) to a depth of 36 inches, sifting all soil carefully. Put tubers thru a quisinart to finely shred them. Dry them for several hot days on pavement, after which burn them in a very hot fire (be extremely careful where you spread the ashes). More seriously, a patch can be eradicated by repeated tilling - at least thrice - for a whole season. Having said that, the fear of them becoming invasive is, in my,experience, ill-founded. Their rate of spread depends on the length of the "runners" - usually less than 6-8 inches. Some varieties such as Dave's Shrine are much rowdier and may spread twice as fast (still less than 6") and that's only if you quite neglect them. The better varieties (Skorospelko) have been bred for compact set, which means you stand a better chance of getting them all. Sorry, i don't get to check out this (or any other site) that regularly.

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                    • #11
                      If you really want to get rid of your sunchokes (don't know why anyone would want to do that) just let goats have access to them. They completely wiped out my small patch so I have to start over in an area where the goats cannot reach them.....I think they just kept eating down the tops until the roots couldn't recover anymore....maybe they ate the roots but I never saw them do so.

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