loligo: (anemone)
[personal profile] loligo posting in [community profile] permaculture
Alas, I wish I could give a better report of this perennial root vegetable, but in three years of growing it, I have only been able to harvest one tiny tuber. For a really useful write-up of this veggie, check out this post at Homegrown Evolution. I guess my post should be taken as a checklist of how *not* to grow Chinese artichokes!

The spot they're growing in is in part shade. We have very heavy clay soil, and I sheet-mulched the heck out of it three years ago when I first planted stuff in that bed, but I think the native clay has succeeded in incorporating most of the mulch by now without much change in its essential clay-ness. We had a bad summer of drought this year. I figured that after 24 hours of rain, the ground might be soft enough now to dig, but getting the fork in there was like trying to ram it into concrete. So, dried-out clay = a big no-no for S. affinis. People who grow it in sandy soil or on pond margins report it as being downright invasive. My plant only expanded to a 2 sq ft patch in three years.

The one tiny tuber was harvested accidentally this spring while I was weeding in that bed. It popped right out, so I washed it off and ate it. Other people have described them as sweet, nutty, or minty -- I would have to describe that tuber as bland. Seriously, it was like water. I thought maybe they would have more flavor by this fall... but fall is here, and there are no tubers! I can't find a one.

Wish me better luck with my Jerusalem artichokes. This is my first year growing those -- the plants look huge and healthy, but who knows what's going on below....

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Permaculture: Food From Sustainable Landscapes

November 2012

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