Posts Tagged ‘Sunchokes’

Last Summer I added Oca and Ulloco Tuberous crops to my vegetable grow list in my garden, having harvested them recently, I can only advise that personally they are not worth the effort due to the small yield. This opinion is mainly helpful to those in countries with a similar climate to the UK, these plants are really from the Andean areas in South America where they are guaranteed to have more abundant sunshine.

Perennial tuber Kit: Incredible Vegetables

Various Perennial Tubers: Oca, Ulloco, Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) & Crosney (Chinese Artichoke).

Whilst I did get a few tubers per plant that were of a decent size, the rest were usually really tiny and even too small to be able to clean properly for culinary use.
I will be keeping a small amount of stock growing in one pot just for the sake of having some aside and re-seeding every year, this will prevent the need to buy more in the event of trying again.

On another note, the same goes for Chinese Artichokes AKA Crosneys, although the yield was quite big, the actual tubers were tiny and most broke whilst harvesting! Oca have a far more worthwhile yield compared with these so for any new gardeners interested to try unusual tubers out, the Oca are probably best after Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes).

Simply put, if I had a larger piece of land (I have a very small typical UK garden), and some more time on my hands, I would probably have a dedicated area to grow these crops and experiment with soil types (my soil is quite heavy). So, I am not entirely giving up, just putting these tubers on a backburner list whilst I find other crops to dedicate my limited space to.

To order any Unusual tuber vegetables in the UK / Europe, take a look at Incredible Vegetables, they supply full info on planting etc.

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These photo’s were mostly taken a few month’s back so it’s great to share them now with you all, enjoy:

Base of a Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) bed

Note: Failed Experiment!!
I grew garlic after planting the Jerusalem Artichoke tubers hoping that the garlic would be able to cope fine under the Artichokes but as you can see in the above photo, there are Zero garlic plants visible! I had this planned as a time stacking experiment but the Garlic was not happy at all, it may be because Jerusalem Artichokes are part of the Sunflower family which excretes substances which other plants don’t like, this is to ensure they get their own space free from other nutrient thieving plants!

First Blueberry Harvest for Summer 2015

First Blueberry Harvest for Summer 2015 (only 1 plant)

Blueberry Plant with Lots of Berries 2015

Blueberry Plant with Lots of Berries 2015

This season's First Courgette (Zucchini)

This season’s First Courgette (Zucchini)

First Italian Vine Tomatoes forming

First Italian Vine Tomatoes forming

The prolific Flowering of the Lldi Tomato, this is one flower stem

The most productive part of the plot, L to R: Various Tomatoes Bush Legend, Italian Vine, Beefsteak, Gardeners Delight, Oca Andean Tuberous plants at bottom ( ones with clover like leaves ), Galeuse d’Eysines Pumpkin on trellis at back, Courgettes (Zucchini) with Nasturtiums growing between to attract the pollinators in,Some leaves of my potatoes at bottom, tips of my Perovskia flowers (Russian Sage) right side and my polytunnel to the left. There is even a nettle poking out and a volunteer Jerusalem Artichoke behind the Courgette!

Violas keeping the plot looking pretty - these were being thrown out due to annual bedding change by a gardening company, they recovered very well after a week or so! ...

Violas keeping the plot looking pretty – these were being thrown out due to annual bedding change by a gardening company, they recovered very well after a week or so! …

My goal for next year is to go 100% Heriloom / Heritage seed and get rid of all my Hybrid junk, I am 100% sure I do not have / own any GM seeds so safe there! So far this is my second year growing Heirloom / Heritage seed plants and I find the success is great! these plants have been Naturally adapting to our climate and therefore are better suited to times of drought, wet, local pests, fungus etc. When placed in a Polyculture system it creates even better conditions for them to thrive in! I can;t wait to order more species / varieties to experiment with for next season.

Don’t forget though, there are still many edible plants you will need to be sowing soon for winter food or overwintering for early Spring cropping! …

Here I will be discussing High Value Perennial Vegetables that are also, low maintenance! This will be just a quick article as we can all go into loads of detail later on in another related article where I may discuss more / related plants.

Right now, in England we are experiencing another mild winter (no complaints here!), with the odd cold day here and there and, the inevitable frosts in the mornings, I cannot stress how valuable it is, knowing that right outside in my garden, there are Artichoke Tubers sitting underground waiting to be harvested.
I unfortunately didn’t weigh my bounty (last year was the first year that I tried growing Jerusalem Artichokes) and I can only estimate that I got more than 3 kg worth with still the tubers from Two plants sitting underground so, possibly all together, provided that the last two produced as much as the others, I reckon I may have grown around 5kg’s of Tubers!!
The fact that you can leave tubers such as these in the ground until they are needed, is incredibly valuable to me and hence why, here  I am appealing to my readers to get hold of a few varieties of various tuber species such as Oca, Chinese Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke etc. Designate a place in your garden especially for these!

Jerusalem artichokes 3

Freshly Harvested Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes are members of the Sunflower Family and so, they do grow quite large (Up to 15 feet!) and work very well to provide privacy or as a wind break ( If you live in a high wind area there may be a need to stake them as a precaution ). Their stems and foliage make great material for composting or chop and drop as the leaves mostly still stick to the stem even after they are black and completely dry, the stems would serve very well in the middle to higher layers of a Hugelkultur Mund. Once harvested, merely keep a few smaller tubers and replant them where you want the next years batch to grow, about 10cm (3 /16th inch) deep , each tuber will produce at least one plant, medium to large tubers can be sliced into half or thirds to create seed tubers too. Check out my own Jerusalem Artichoke Soup Recipe Here

Harvested Chinese Artichokes

Chinese Artichokes are smaller bush type plants (Compared to the Jerusalem Artichokes) and according to this blogger, 1kg of tubers come from one seed tuber.

Large Oca Tuber – UK Grown

OCA (Oxalis Tuberosa) aren’t as vigorous as the above two, they look more like a bush and the tubers are still a bit rare due to being from South America originally, for this they are some of the most expensive tubers after Yacon.

Freshly pulled Yacon Tubers

Yacon are a larger tuber but also quite more expensive, my contact will sell a growing tip which will have about 3 shoots coming out for a hefty price, they do guarantee at least one plant from the growing tip and you can also always just cut out the growing tips next harvest to build your Yacon population!

These plants require almost zero maintenance once established and, again, their edible roots can be left underground until you want to harvest them! Not to forget that you will never need to buy the seed tubers again unless you eat them all!