Jerusalem artichokes. Delicious root crop, great for roasting. Also known as the sunchoke due to the beautiful flowers. These Jerusalem artichokes were over 2 m tall with abundant flowers. In subtropical Brisbane they will grow well but be very careful to provide adequate drainage and minimise the use of high nitrogen fertilisers. It is also very important to harvest your artichokes as soon as the top of the plant dies back because the roots may rot quickly in our climate. Also check the pH of the soil and ensure adequate calcium/magnesium. One final consideration is whether your soil has a bacterial dominance (annual tilled beds) or a fungal dominance (stable food forests). Jerusalem artichokes prefer a bacterial (tilled) soil in our experience.
Jerusalem artichokes can be affected by bacterial and/or fungal contamination. It is important to rotate this crop. Hot moist conditions over summer and replanting Jerusalem artichokes in the same garden bed may lead to ideal conditions for bacterial infection and a secondary fungal infection of these root crops. Nutrient deficiency (such as calcium and or silica) may also contribute to weakened cell structure and susceptibility to infection. Solution: remove effected plants. Dig over the bed adding a dose of garden lime for calcium. Allow the bed to rest or plant a crop of stinking Rodger (to be dug back into the soil). Before replanting be sure to test the soil pH and adjust if necessary. Avoid replanting the effected crop (or a close relative).