200 Pounds of Food With this Plant You Can Harvest in Winter

Tara Dodrill
By Tara Dodrill January 2, 2020 09:33

200 Pounds of Food With this Plant You Can Harvest in Winter

Jerusalem Artichokes are not actually an artichoke at all, but these nutrient-rich tubers should be a part of every preppers survival food plan. Native Americans once planted them along every trail they frequented simply to ensure a viable source of food would always be handy as they went about their travels.

Sunchokes, as Jerusalem artichokes are also commonly called, sometimes get a bad rap for being invasive. Like honeysuckle and mint, these hardy vegetables do spread out in great abundance – but that’s not a bad thing from a survival food perspective.

Not only do Jerusalem artichokes grow in leaps and bounds after being planted, there may be no other vegetable that thrives so expansively even when neglected. You can simply plant the sunchokes in a spacious and out of the way spot and, well … forget them until it is time to harvest.

Why Preppers Should Grow Artichokes

Every single Jerusalem artichoke plant is capable of producing a minimum of 75 but as many as 200 tubers during just a single growing year. You can essentially harvest the tubers anytime from spring right up into the winter months.
Because sunchokes are a perennial vegetable, you do not need to spend time replanting it every growing season. In fact, Jerusalem artichokes will seed itself over and over again.
When growing this optimal survival gardening plant, you can just put it in the ground and forget about it until you are ready to harvest. It will thrive in any soil type, is highly drought resistant, and there is not even any need to do weeding throughout the growing season.

Most of the Jerusalem artichoke plant can also be used to feed your survival livestock. Hogs, goats, cattle, chickens, sheep, ducks, rabbits, guineas, and turkeys can safely eat the stems, leaves, and blossoms of the sunchoke plant. Hogs (or pigs, if that’s how the animals are referred to in your neck of the woods) are even prone to eating the tubers.

Horses, which will likely once again become the primary mode of transportation during a SHTF event, can also eat the parts of the sunchoke plant noted above. I plant rows of Jerusalem artichokes along the edges of the pasture for the horses to eat in the late fall when they have already consumed most of the grass.

What Is A Tuber?

It is the tuber on the Jerusalem artichoke that people tend to feast upon the most. A tuber is the swollen stem of a plant that is located underground. The tubers of Jerusalem artichokes range in color from red to purple, to brown, and white. Jerusalem Artichokes - 200 Pounds of Food With this Plant You Can Harvest in Winter2

The interior flesh of the sunchoke tuber is always white and somewhat resemble ginger – but is slightly more knobby in shape. The tubers on this vegetable plant have a nut-like taste. Jerusalem artichoke tubers are more crisp and sweet, as well as smaller, than potatoes.

Nutrient Value And Healing Properties

These tubers have a significant protein value but less starch than potatoes. Sunchoke tubers contain a substantial amount of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that is commonly found as an ingredient in all-natural home remedies. This probiotics may help increase the growth of bifidobacteria – a good bacteria that may prevent destructive bacteria from forming and might aid in the reduction of some carcinogenic enzymes.

These tubers also produce a significant amount of trace minerals, iron, electrolytes, copper, fiber, and potassium. Sunchokes may help lower blood pressure by essentially counteracting the impact sodium has on the human body.
The tubers from Jerusalem artichokes actually boast a higher protein content than corn, soybeans, beans, or wheat. Both the stems and leaves on sunchoke plants contain roughly 28 percent protein – that figure is twice the amount of protein found in corn.

They also contain smaller percentages of folates and other B-complex vitamins, such as thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.

Jerusalem Artichoke Facts

● They are members of the Helianthus genus, the same genus as sunflowers belong.
● Sunchokes typically grow between eight to 15 feet tall.
● The leaves on sunchokes resemble those found on sunflowers. They have yellow flowers that grow large and do not bloom until late in the summer – sometimes they remain blooming long after sunflowers have gone to seed.
● Exactly how Jerusalem artichokes got their name remains a bit of a mystery – they have no connection to Jerusalem at all. These plants are native to North America and might have originated along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
● Native American tribes often used sunchokes as a companion crop for sweet corn and beans.
● Jerusalem artichokes can be harvested in the spring when the inulin properties are at their peak, or at the end of summer after they have finished flowering and their stalks begin to fall over.

How To Grow Jerusalem Artichokes

Plant the sunchokes in the spring after the risk of hard frost has passed. Typically, Jerusalem artichokes are planted in mid March through early April – depending on your growing zone.

Till the ground to turn it and expose the nutrient-rich and softer soil below. Plant the sunchokes at least four but no more than six inches deep. While you can start them in a container and relocate them into the ground, they do not transplant well.Jerusalem Artichokes - 200 Pounds of Food With this Plant You Can Harvest in Winter1

The Jerusalem artichokes should be planted in a sunny spot in either groups like you would do a bush or shrub or rows that are five feet wide. The tubers should be spaced one foot apart in the soil.

It takes at least 90 days for Jerusalem artichokes to fully mature. Sunchokes are recommended for growing on agricultural zones 3 through 8. Because these perennial vegetables are best suited for colder climates, planting them in a climate that boasts temperatures that range higher than those in agricultural growing zone 8, will not likely produce a solid yield.

Remember, Jerusalem artichokes grow to some very tall heights, do not plant them in a spot that will throw shade on your other crops. Always make sure each sunchoke tubers boasts at least one “eye” or it will not grow. Even the tiniest little tuber stub tends to grow, as long as it has an eye.

If you are experiencing a cold early spring, consider mulching around the young plants as they come up to protect them from the chill.

Related: 10 Survival Crops You Can Grow Without Irrigation

There are several common and popular varieties of Jerusalem artichokes:

1. Sugarball – This variety produces white and small tubers that taste delicious when roasted.
2. Fuseau – The tubers you will harvest from this variety of Jerusalem artichoke boast a smoky flavor. These very large and smooth tubers increase the weight of your yield.
3. White French Mammoth – This type of sunchoke produces an especially knobby tuber that is fairly large.

Harvesting Jerusalem Artichokes

To harvest sunchokes, simply dig them up the tubers from the ground just as you would potatoes. You can harvest them as soon as they mature or leave them in the ground into the winter and dig them up when desired to enjoy a more fresh tuber. Some gardeners staunchly maintain that waiting until the tubers have been exposed to a frost – or even two, gives them an even sweeter taste.

If you want to keep the tubers growing longer into the year, add a one foot layer of mulch after the first frost to prevent them from freezing.

Plant Diseases And Destructive Insects

I won’t say that Jerusalem artichokes are entirely plant disease and pest resistant, but not much phases the tubers or stunts their growth. The only real problem you might experience when growing these perennial vegetables is the rate at which they grow and want to take over an entire space.

Related: 10 Bugs You Should Never Kill In Your Garden

Eating Jerusalem Artichokes

You can eat Jerusalem artichokes both cooked and raw. They are often sauteed, mashed, or even roasted to be eaten alone or as part of a casserole dish. If you clean and dry the sunchoke tubers that can be ground and used as a flour. Eating freshly harvested sunchokes does not typically cause any blood sugar hike as potatoes often can because these tubers have a low score on the glycemic index.

How To Cook Jerusalem Artichokes

1. Wash and peel (or just scrub) them just as you would when preparing ginger roots.Jerusalem Artichokes - 200 Pounds of Food With this Plant You Can Harvest in Winter4
2. Using a sharp and sturdy knife, slice up the tubers.
3. The most common way to prepare Jerusalem artichokes is to roast them in oil – coconut or olive oil both work great.
4. Season the tubers with your favorite spices – I prefer garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch of oregano.

Do not clean and wash the sunchoke tubers until you are ready to prepare them because they discolor quickly after being either peeled or scrubbed and exposed to water. Monitor the roasting or cooking of the tubers closely until you get more experienced with the right mixture of time and heat to use – Jerusalem artichoke tubers can turn to mush quite easily.

You can also substitute Jerusalem artichokes for potatoes in nearly any recipe that calls for them. The sunchokes generally have a mild taste that blend in with the other ingredients that join them in the cook pot or casserole.
Although it is a far less common way to use the heft yield Jerusalem artichokes produces, you can also juice them or turn them in a wine style drink.

You may also like:

How To Make Oil From Plants At Home

The U.S. Army’s Forgotten Food Miracle (Video)

15 Common Wild Plants You Never Thought Were Edible

The 24 Highest Calorie Vegetables for Your Survival Garden

How to Harvest Your Own Seeds from Garden Plants

Tara Dodrill
By Tara Dodrill January 2, 2020 09:33
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  1. T J January 2, 16:43

    In the mid 1970’s in Texas, zone 7, I raised a lot of Jerusalem artichoke. One interesting experiment I did with children, of which I had 5, was to blindfold them and have them taste the raw tubers. 10 children total, including neighbors, would be blindfolded and given a raw bite pealed and unpieled. Surprisingly nearly all gave the same answer when asked what they thought it tasted like. Raw with the pealing on, raw green bean. pealed, raw corn.
    Great article. TJ

    Reply to this comment
  2. Farmer January 2, 16:56

    Be careful where you plant these … they invented the term “invasive”.

    Reply to this comment
    • Mbl January 3, 17:33

      Great article. I have seen them along the roadways in clumps here and there. They are usually on the shorter side,. but my guess is that animals chew on them. The ones ivy seen look like yellow-orange daisies but more clumpy, and the leaves look sturdier than daisy leaves.

      A friend tasted them and found them quite bland. I’m not sure how they were prepared. She didn’t mention any trouble with gas, but that is good to keep in mind.

      Reply to this comment
    • red January 10, 13:01

      Farmer: I gave one very small tuber to a man who liked how the plant screened our yard. I warned him, do not fertilize. Not even a little. He ignored this, and a few years later was complaining I ruined his yard. I went to his place, and lo, 12 feet tall and covered yards of space. Invasive? Locust are invasive. Terrorists are invasive. If these things had hands and mouths, Plains Indians would still rule the prairies and the ‘chokes be fat on settlers. ! 🙂 niio

      Reply to this comment
  3. TPG January 2, 17:06

    As the Director of the TexasPreparednessGroup.com I strongly encourage our 10,000 + members to use the Jerusalem artichoke as a wild and cultivated source of survival & daily use food source. Hugely adaptable to most all animal food demands in good times and bad. Little problem with storage since it can be left in the ground until needed. Flourishes in most soil conditions and is pretty much insect and disease free. Each tuber can produce numerous plants as long as an eye is present when you cut it up to plant. Truly a special survival food source that everyone should utilize in their daily life and preparedness needs.

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty January 11, 15:20

      Do you know how well it grows from seed? I got a seed head last year from my neighbors’ patch, and wanted to try it. If you have any tips on how to grow them from seed it is much appreciated.

      Reply to this comment
      • red January 12, 01:26

        Miz Kitty: I’m lost here. What seed? ‘Chokes don’t produce seed. It produces pollen but it’s sterile, but attracts pollinators to the garden. niio

        Reply to this comment
        • Miss Kitty January 12, 14:20

          Gee, I THOUGHT they were Jerusalem artichokes! 😳 Just goes to show… I’d better get them from a dealer, rather than “harvesting” the dried flower heads from random plants. Oops!

          Reply to this comment
          • red January 13, 05:47

            Miz Kitty: Yeah, it’s strange, you know, that they don’t produce seeds. Be cool if they did. Like tompots they’ve tried to develop for decades, Tomatoes on the vines, potatoes growing on the roots. BTW, if you grow potatoes try to buy ones that do well in the heat. Potatoes developed in cool, foggy climates, but we have varieties that can handle heat and drought now. niio

            Reply to this comment
  4. Leonard January 2, 17:22

    Sounds good but what does the plant look like because it’s not at Green houses around Northeast Ohio that I have seen. But I do live around city dwellers

    Reply to this comment
    • oldtimer505 January 2, 18:10

      The plant looks very much like a sun flower plant without the large seed head. They grow 8-10 ft tall. Once you plant them they will take over an area in a few years. It is my suggestion that you do a test bed where you don’t mind they expanding. The chokes become as dense as bull rushes once they establish themselves. Now on the up side. They are very good for folks that have sugar issues. They dehydrate well and taste great. You can use them in place of potato’s or grind them into flower as well. Good luck.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Miriam January 2, 17:24

    Hi there!

    I am interested in the book of survival remedies offer. MY husband is diabetic and I have Graves Disease. Looking into holistic alternatives. When will the offer come back so I can make a purchase? Thank you.

    Reply to this comment
    • Govtgirl August 24, 20:32

      Hi Miriam,
      If you go to the pale green search box above the Jerusalem choke picture and type in survival remedies book, you will get a list of articles related to herbal and home remedies and further down is a picture of the Remedies book held by the author. It is right below the picture of the Backyard Survival Book. Click on the Remedies Book picture and hopefully, it will get you to where you can order it. Love the search box on this site. Have started to use it more and more as the library of articles is so extensive. And you know you’ll get good info so better place to start than Google about topics of interest to Preppers.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Clint January 2, 17:26

    Where can I get the Jerusalem Artichokes?

    Reply to this comment
  7. Eowyn January 2, 17:28

    Unless the gophers eat your entire starting plants! They also like potatoes and garlic and onions.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Josie January 2, 17:59

    Where can I buy these for planting?

    Reply to this comment
  9. Tigron January 2, 18:03

    Jerusalem Artichokes can cause pain in the intestines from the gas they cause.
    letting go can be very difficult.

    Happy newyear to all.
    Greetz from the Netherlands

    Reply to this comment
  10. wb January 2, 19:35

    yes I know this plant well,not every one con digest inulin so bad luck if you are in the bunker with them.I caaaan recomend bishop weed.reed mace nettles pig nut,birch sap,asorted berries and inseccts.the list goes on and on omnivour

    Reply to this comment
  11. MP January 2, 21:44

    Great article. Another way I store them is to slice them and place in a jar with pickle juice. I never throw out old pickle juice for reasons such as this. Put in refrigerator and wait at least a week to eat them. It will store for many months this way.

    Reply to this comment
    • Raz January 3, 02:47

      This is a hot topic on how to store them. I find what you said to be very helpful. Thank you for that reach.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Miss Kitty January 3, 00:04

    They look like orangey yellow big daisies, or the smaller relative of sunflowers that they are.

    As far as “where” to get them, ask your gardener friends if they have extras. If they have any they’ll likely be delighted to get rid of some…they DO spread! Otherwise, check seed catalogues online – Baker Creek’s Heirloom Seeds at http://www.rareseeds.com carries them, and their photographs are amazing!

    Reply to this comment
    • oldtimer505 January 9, 15:53

      I have not tried to extract sugar from the plant as of yet. I understand from my reading on the subject that the sugar is in the cane potion of the plant. This has to be harvested before the plant flowers out I am told. That said I don’t know if you have to crush the stalks to extract the juice and they boil it down like maple sugar or if you cut the stalks up into small pieces and then boil and filter the juice much like you would beets.

      Reply to this comment
      • red January 10, 04:53

        I never heard of the stalk used for anything but mulch, but they’ll hold a bean vine up nice. Here, anything that shades and cuts the wind is good. But, the sugar is in the tubers. In grasses, it’s in the stalk. Let me know how it works. niio

        Reply to this comment
  13. Linda January 3, 00:40

    I like to use them raw and sliced into my stir fry recipes. Just stir them into the wok with other vegetables as a substitute for water chestnuts.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Datman January 3, 00:45


    Reply to this comment
  15. Cat January 3, 01:37

    Which variety doesn’t cause gas – or do they all? I once made the mistake of eating Jerusalem artichoke soup before a long flight. Never again…

    Reply to this comment
  16. red January 3, 02:25

    I like raising these. But, let them in the ground a few months to sweeten and you’ll see why most of the temperate world raises them instead of importing sugar. All but the Us, of course. They can overwinter in Zone 3, but not in tropical climates. They grow fast and can make two crops a year, here. Pick ever last one and you’ll still miss plenty to come up in the spring. Diseases and insects do not seem to be a problem. but, just in case, all animals love these, from roots to tops. Run cattle and hogs in after harvest to clean them out. niio

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty January 9, 13:03

      Red, do you know if the sugar can be extracted? If so, would it be the same process as beets?

      Reply to this comment
      • red January 10, 04:14

        After aging: Dried or fresh, boil, filter well and treat like cane syrup. It takes a lot of power, fuel, to cook down for sugar. These are sweeter than beets and used to make cakes and candies, as mesquite flour is. BTW, even red oak acorns are sweet if buried, like squirrels do, till spring. When they start to sprout, they already lost the tannin. If they start to turn green, they become toxic with tannin, again.

        Reply to this comment
  17. Mike January 3, 15:09

    Everyone keeps saying what the above ground plant looks like, why doesn’t anyone post a PICTURE so we all can get on the same page of knowledge.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Ms. Bee-Tree January 3, 17:29

    Deer and rabbits are usually my biggest problems for plantings. Does anyone know if these are tempting to the deer and rabbits? If so, I’ll need to creatively protect them from both. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • red January 4, 01:46

      Don’t know about rabbits, but cattle, horses, sheep and goats will decimate them. But, they should come back from the roots. Pigs will rip them up and eat the leaves, as well. I know some people with a rabbitry who feed the leaves all summer and the roots in winter, but as a treat. Be advised, Indians did not eat them like potatoes, but let them age in the ground, even all winter if the ground froze solid, and then made sweets of the roots. A lot of the world today uses the tubers, aged, for sugar rather than cane or beets. niio

      Reply to this comment
  19. Ms. Bee-Tree January 3, 20:25

    Photo of plant with flowers available at link above.

    Reply to this comment
  20. T J January 4, 22:55

    They are usually seasonal in local Natural Food Stores but Amazon is loaded with them, several varities.

    Reply to this comment
  21. red January 5, 02:03

    I even stopped at Whole (paycheck) Foods, but no go. I got mine at Gurney’s. https://www.gurneys.com/product/jerusalem_artichoke?p=0515548&gclid=CjwKCAiAjMHwBRAVEiwAzdLWGC47Q5zPM0y4_VMA5rsNK6WgwXCYSaXak3bojEO5Lp0qiQ5lI9hzqRoCd0YQAvD_BwE
    And, if you want to avoid gas attacks, http://www.ozarkmountainjewel.com/2018/11/29/taking-the-fart-out-of-jerusalem-fartichokes-aka-sunroot-or-topinambour/
    the funny thing is, a sister in Penna asked if I wanted some. She’s starting to harvest them now for sweets. niio

    Reply to this comment
  22. Black Swan January 8, 13:30

    Good article on a useful but neglected plant. The main problems I’ve had with mine are first, our clay soil in Ohio makes it hard for the tubers to grow large. You need to add sand or maybe some chopped straw to your soil if you live here. The other problem, as several others here have already mentioned, is that it’s hard to find an animal, wild or domestic, that doesn’t love these things! But there’s an upside to that in a survival situation, because then a plant that attracts game is a clear winner.

    Reply to this comment
    • Miss Kitty January 10, 12:41

      You could try either raised beds or straw bales. If I’m able to get them from my neighbor I’m going to try container growing as I’m in an apartment. Container growing wasn’t so great for potatoes – I think it’s too hot (south facing balcony) – so I’m hoping sunchokes do better.
      Still tweaking my self sufficiency “garden”.

      Reply to this comment
      • red January 10, 15:24

        Miz Kitty: What color container? A bro up the road asked why his wife’s plants, chilis and flowers, always did well early on, but died by summer (April, here). The containers were black and fried the roots. He put aluminum foil, shiny side out, and they did all right after. Maybe try to plant later. But, south side means no sun all summer. Potatoes can take from 45 days to over 3 months to form. Try for an early November harvest. One cutting as an experiment. Remember, cuttings should be no more than a few ounces and no less. And, one small piece of ‘choke tuber and it should fill a bucket. niio

        Reply to this comment
        • Miss Kitty January 11, 15:16

          Light colored, kinda buff plastic. But it’s the third floor, so the heat rises. Tomatoes did well though, so I’m going to concentrate on heat/drought tolerant plants this year and continue tweaking my varieties. Want to plant some sort of vining plants to use as a natural shade/privacy fence too – I’m thinking Scarlet emperor beans and morning glories, but need to check on how heat tolerant they are…I did beans before and they did ok, but not great. I think I didn’t water them enough.

          Reply to this comment
  23. red January 9, 02:37

    Then grow the potatoes above ground. Put down a layer of straw, soak it good, add the cuttings, and pile about 6″ more over them. Soak it and let it alone. Check once in a while. by fall, you’ll have potatoes and richer, softer soil. I had to raise them like that in Ohio and Penna, and it worked. Modern farmers are planting daikon (oilseed) radishes and rye in the fall. Rye softens the soil and prevents scurff (the black crud on potatoes), and the radishes are a winter radish. They’ll tunnel as deep as they can,, loosening the clay. they can dig 8 feet deep. If your town collects leaves inthe fall, that’s natural compost. One place between Sidney, OH and Belefontaine the soil was so hard I nearly broke a new shovel trying to dig it.I planted Instead, I put down beds, 20 feet long and 3 wide, one truckload of rotting leaves in each, and planted in that. It was a flood year, and the roots of all the plants stayed up in the leaves, along with nightcrawlers. Great garden! When the farmer plowed, and I didn’t want him to, he said going from that clay into the garden, the soil was so soft the tractor jumped ahead and he near broke his neck. That’s how soil should be. No till, cover crops, and mulch. If the radishes survive, chop them off under the crown. they’ll decay and put all that good stuff back in the soil. Rye, mow high when it blooms and leave it for mulch. Rye cannot rebloom unless it gets plenty of cold weather. It dies and leaves the soil soft enough to dig in with bare hands. niio

    Reply to this comment
    • mbl January 9, 15:24

      Red, I have a question about rye. I realize I’m veering off-topic here but I’d like to know a bit more about it.

      I’ve been trying for the last few years to amend the soil where i am. I’ve had limited success for a number of reasons, one of which that the places i didn’t mow are now so overgrown that i’m not sure how to reclaim them for anything i might want there.

      for those places, if I’m reading you right, were i to lay down straw, water well, and plant, could i do the same with rye? And then, if i mow it down, leave it to be mulch over the winter and then plant crops i want to plant in spring? Or do i plant the rye in the spring, leave it up all season long into winter, and then chop in the spring?

      We get a goodly amount of snow here, so i think we have the cold covered. Just trying to work out how i can do this successfully the first time around.


      Reply to this comment
      • red January 10, 04:40

        mbl: Not off topic. Preppers is about how to survive in style.

        First, where do you live? Your state, in a river valley, a mountain top. Each area in every state has different needs.

        Snow is called the poor man’s manure because it’s high in nitrogen. The overgrown areas will be the most fertile. A heavy mulch will smother any weeds. Leaves work best for grassy areas. Mind, if you get a lot of moisture, snails might be a problem. Then you do night patrol with a salt shaker. Salt kills them. Of, if you don’t like that, cardboard. They hate it. This will kill off weeds fast. It takes 2 weeks for them to all die, then you can plant.

        Cereal rye, the plant you need, gets tall enough to smother weeds. Unless it has enough cold to vernalize (bloom), it dies off on its own. It’s one of the best winter covers. Planted with oilseed radishes (daikon) or another winter radish (they only produce long, heavy roots with decreasing light) will force roots as deep as 8 feet and take every bit of fertility it can from there, an area most garden plants can’t reach. This is left on the top of the soil for the garden to use.

        Rye can be planted now, but I’d try to add a little clover to it. As long as the temps are over 40 F, it’ll grow. I saw it broadcast into fields and it was left on the surface, where heavy dew made it sprout and drive in roots. It also dries out wet soil so it’s easier to plant in the spring. A lot of farmers are just flattening the rye when it blooms, and then it leaves a dead mulch over the soil. Wait a week or two before planting because rye produces a chemical that stops small seeds from sprouting. But, plants are all right. The soil is supposed to have an armor, a heavy cover, to protect roots from heat and cold.

        Rye is basic natural farming. Folks used it for centuries for this. In Austria, my stepmother said they plant all fields with it, then broadcast fava beans when it blooms, and mow off the rye with a cycle mower to cover the beans. Other time, peas and beans, and let the rye ripen, then harvest. If cut high, the peas and beans are fine. It’s customary on a farm to broadcast clover into the rye when you get a chinook, a thaw. The clover comes up and is cut for hay with the rye when the rye blooms. Clover and peas add a lot of nitrogen to the soil. If you till them under, you get a blast of nitrogen, then often nothing. Carbon in form of straw is eaten by microbes and worms, and that’s the most stable nitrogen, feeding all season long. I only use mulch and that’s all good soil needs. But, no slugs or snails in my part of Arizona, either. 🙂 niio

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        • mbl January 13, 23:45

          Thanks for your reply, red. I’m going to plant some in the spring and see how well it does. I’m on the coast in the Northeast, so we have lots of salt air, and my property is at the base of a good sized hill. We have a small creek in the back that sometimes dries out but a damp patch adjacent to it would be perfect for growing rice (or watercress, which i did and the deer ate to nothing in about five minutes).

          We do have snails and slugs here. The slugs are industrial sized, and those darn birds don’t seem to like them. I didn’t see as many this past summer, so maybe finally some critter has decided these already shelled land escargots are a bit of all right.

          Thanks again for your reply.

          Reply to this comment
          • red January 14, 02:08

            Try the salt. You have banana slugs? I heard about them, wow. Monsters. Red rice (Baker’s rare seeds) might work. It’s a forest rice, but donno if it would like the chill. Native rice likes water. A pond is best. Deer eats garden. Gardener eats deer 🙂 A cousin in Penna was in a bad way, lost his job, had large house payments. His wife only had a p/t job. I said, you live in a development and most of the deer that gnawed off the garden are worse than tame goats. Yeah… So, they like corn. You have a garage and know how to make a silencer. Any offal–including the hide–should be deposited well away from the development on a back road where bears hang out. Then he grinned.

            Most lightning bugs lay eggs on slugs to give the kiddies a feast. Ducks usually love slugs, and a beer trap is nothing but sugar water fermenting. If you live in town, a couple of Asian ducks can be called pets. For us, Muscovy is always the best, but for eggs over meat, Asian breeds lay better than the average chicken. BTW, I do not know about your area, but snails and slugs can carry tape worms. Reminds me, copper can kill slugs, as well as eggshells. Be warned, copper in excess kills plants. That’s why the garden does best during the monsoons down here no matter how much we irrigate. niio!

            Reply to this comment
            • mbl January 14, 03:33

              I don’t know their name, but banana slug sounds right. They are long and deep yellow.

              I put diatomaceous earth around the plants i wanted to keep, and the year before last, the first slugs got stuck in the DE. The second round got sort of stuck on top on the first slugs. The third group crawled over the dead two and reached a few of the plants. What they died trying to get the fourth round broke through and ate.

              I’ve put seaweed around the plants, too, and that helped some with the slugs. I was mindful of not adding so much seaweed that i had too much salt build up. It’s always a balance.

              The deer most years haven’t bothered with my garden, although the last two, they decided to eat it all down in a day. It was well away from the watercress spot. We’ve got fencing up now, so we’ll see how that goes.

              For a time i lived in Penna and know all too well about the deer. We were rural when i first got there, and exurbia discovered us. blech. Here, we have some deer, and i had a black bear in the back yard who decided the bird feeder looked like it might have a tasty snack. He drained the seeds quickly, tossed the feeder away like an empty snack bag, and licked the suet feeder clean before making his way across the yard and out of sight. I learned not to keep the bird feeder up past early spring.

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              • red January 15, 02:07

                Banana slugs. They sound smarter than some people we know. Salt should work, but try eggshells first. If you get rain like Penna, then salt shouldn’t be a problem. Farmers used to buy sea salt to add to the fields. A lot of plants need some, a little. Some can’t live without it (saltbush and so on).Don’t overdo it, but try. You already use seaweed, so plain salt will work.

                Ah, bears. My sister had a problem with one ripping open the wood box she kept her trashcans in. I dusted them with red peppers. He got into it and ran off sneezing. When she finds bear tracks around, she dusts the inside with red pepper. She lost a couple of nice bird feeders to squirrels. Birds like red pepper flakes. Squirrels, even ours in Arizona, tend to avoid them. They tried the seed once and ran. Have you tried mothballs for the deer? They hate the smell. Blood meal works, but it’s expensive and attracts skunks. Of course, skunks also like mice, ground nesting bees and scorpions. when a security guard at a junkyard in PA I fed them and it paid off when kids were breaking windows in campers renting a spot for the winter. 😉

                Ochardists will let dogs run in fenced orchards at night. Indians always used them and ripgut fences to keep out even wild hogs.It needs to be about 20 feet high and tight, but they’re easy to build. Only corners are tied in place, and nothing is planted in the ground. niio

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        • Lorizin January 24, 04:27

          Hi Niio,
          You mentioned daikon growing deep into the ground – sounds a great way to open up hard soil and help break it down to something usable. A few years ago we grew daikon, which reseeded and grew for a few seasons but has now disappeared. However, ours only grew into the ground a short distance, with the rest of the root standing in the air four or so feet, then leaves on top of that. Do you have any ideas why this would be so, and how we can encourage the roots to grow down instead of up,? I want to try growing it again now the wildfires seem to be over (after burning out our farm and food garden) here on Kangaroo Island. Our soil, by the way is river silt over clay.

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          • red January 24, 16:29

            Niio is a Native American greeting and salutation, Walk in God’s beauty. Niio! Your soil must be hellish to force the radishes up like that. But, feeder roots will work deeper and open it. They work well even in plowpan to beak it up. It can take several years. A lot of farmers around the country are doing this, radishes and rye together. After a few years, they can stop buying most fertilizers. Gabe Brown, on YouTube, said it best. why pay for nitrogen when we have it piled ten miles over every acre on earth? He uses a cocktail of rye and radishes, lespedeza, and so on. Rye makes a very soft topsoil when the rest root deeper each year. Corn and tomato roots follow what’s decaying into the soil. A major plus, any non-legume planted that roots deep will feed on lost fertilizers and drop them on the soil surface. To terminate rye, crush t when it blooms. It can’t make another stalk and will die naturally, leaving a mulch on the soil to protect it from compacting. Unless you want to raise your own seed, terminate. Radishes there and here, in Arizona, have to have the crowns cut off or run a chopper over them before going to seed.

            Up in Penna, one sister lives in a valley with hard red clay. Year of gardening made it worse. Years of her kids playing football and so on made it like rock. I couldn’t break ground wit a new shovel! When tree trimmers were in the area.I asked for chips and got a few loads. One foot deep in beds. I had to use a pick to break the soil enough to get root balls in the ground and added night crawler. by the fall, you could dig in the soil with your hands. Ruth Stout was a genius! 🙂 It worked well in Ohio’s clay and here, where adobe turns to rock in the sun. niio!

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            • Lorizin July 18, 11:05

              My apologies Red for getting your name wrong! I just automatically used it without thinking as you always sign off with niio.
              We’ll have to try the daikon-rye mix and see what difference it makes. The weird thing is that our soil is not hard as it’s what remained of river silt-sand when the river changed course. However I realise that nothing in our vegie garden ever grew the way I hear folks mentioning here and on other gardening sites. I think we need to get our soil tested and find out what it may be lacking.
              After the superhot bushfire that burned through in January, we now have far less soil and mulch, and even after the recent rains, still have powdery ash everywhere. That’s going to make gardening results different to before. As soon as we have a replacement fence around the garden area and water pipes and watering system set up again, I’ll be able to begin.

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              • red July 19, 02:58

                Lorizin: Niio, Walk in God’s beauty is a salutation as well as an ending. You were right to use it like that. Ani Susquehannock, with family mostly in PA. Donno how big the garden is, but reserve some space for black Schifferstadt radishes. You have sandy silt, you probably had a problem with root knot caused by nematodes. Most nems will try to feed on anything in the radish fam, bu can’t reproduce there. Predator nems find them and eat them. Either dort of radish is great to put carbon deep in the soil (as much as 8 feet). If the daikon are pusking up then you have a plow pan problem, or it’s hitting a lot of rocks. Rye, always a favorite! When it blooms, we mowed it high and that killed most of it. It will not rebloom and dies. The ashes are minerals returning to the soil. tsi yu! (God’s loving Spirit)

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      • Miss Kitty January 10, 12:26

        For the overgrown areas, check to see if there is a “rent a goat” company in your area. It would be listed probably under “lawn care” or “maintenance services”, and the company will bring a small herd of goats to your property and let them graze through your underbrush – it works especially well for poison ivy. Or a local farm might be able to help you out with that.🐐

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        • red January 10, 12:56

          Miz Kitty: yeah, but poison ivy is a sign of rich soil. You really gonna waste that on a goat? Well, mebbe if you can eat the goat, later 🙂

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        • red January 11, 17:41

          Sorry for not posting under yours, but your post didn’t show up yet.

          Morning glories look nice but are toxic. In AZ, it’s illegal to have them, but people do.

          No flowers, but you can plant sweet potato (regular ones) slips in those upside down hanging planters and get good results (topsie turvie?) up your way, Let the planters bake in the sun and use a bucket to catch water draining from them for the other plants. SPs love that and that was how I raised them in a mountain city in Penna. Anything else, keep the sun off the pots. Plastic can’t breathe, so it builds heat. Scarlet Runner beans love cool, damp weather. Temps over 80 F can kill the pollen. These used to be the string bean in the Pocono Mtns in Penna.If you take care of them, they’ll grow a single ‘potato’ as a storage tuber for you to eat or keep for next spring. Wish I could get beans from them here, but the temps can go from freezing (they don’t seem to mind a little frost) to close to 100 in 12 hours. That’s rare, but happens.These also need to get sprayed down more than regular beans to kill spider mites. The mites drown easy and it doesn’t take much water to kill them.BTW, I had 25 foot long bean vines when I planted in a cold compost. A neighbor, a great gardener but a Dominican, was taught as a kid to stip the sod off a patch and then garden there. I asked for the sod, planted the beans in 20 gallon tubs with it, and wow, they did well. niio

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  24. B. Miller January 10, 21:47

    I have for years used Artichoke Spaghetti made from the flour (powder) of the Jerusalem artichoke from our health food store. It tastes just like the regular wheat flour spaghetti. For those who are having problems with being over weight or cannot tolerate wheat this is a great tasting alternative.

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  25. Lorizin January 24, 03:30

    We have planted Jerusalem artichokes in our farm garden a number of times over the years, but harvested very few tubers any time, and usually none at all.
    Brushtail possums and rats love them, and harvest them before we get the opportunity to. What do you do to protect the tubers from being dug up and eaten?

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    • red January 24, 16:15

      Bait and traps. How do you keep them out of the sweet corn? I have ground squirrels and packrats. If not for a rattler, Mouser, and the dachshund, we would not have a garden.Best thing, you could plant castor beans in with them. The roots are toxic to everything. A bro in OK said gophers were so bad he couldn’t walk out back without sinking into the ground. I told him to try this. He still didn’t have much garden for two years, but by year 3, gophers avoided any place the beans grew and the garden did too well. Castor beans and dead gophers produce a lot of nitrogen. but, mind the kids around them. People plant them because they look good, are drought hardy but a wet year isn’t a problem, either. I think the beans are selling for over 5 bucks a pound to people who want to plant them or make their own oil. the seeds are poisonous but not the oil. Even cooked they can kill and are used as bait for rats. The beans are from Ethiopia and love heat. niio

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  26. Lorizin July 15, 09:14

    How do you stop rats and possums digging up and eating the entire crop? We’ve had this happen numerous times.

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    • red July 17, 05:55

      Lorizin: do you have a dog? How about owl houses? We have spotted owls in Arizona, but they’re rare because this is the far south area of their range. If you have fire ants, one rodent carcass on the nest like you would an insect pest, smack the mount with a stick and run.They’ll attack every one they find after that. I don’t know what section of the country you live in, or the population, but we do have a problem with packrats and ground squirrels. Possums love meat, so that can be baited. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Possums

      Rats (Norway, packrats are vegans) do, as well. Possums will eat sweets, as well, and that can be baited. Best bet is still all natural, owls and snakes, dogs and so on. For anything that burrows, like rats, castor bean roots will kill them. Just mind kids around them. Kids are always on a learning curve, and castor carries ricin. We also stuff oleander (rhododendron family) into burrows, or a half cut of sulfur pellets, then water it (it reacts with calcium in the soil to make acid) and cap it with dirt. Rodents and possums hate strong smells, and dog or cat droppings in rat burrows helps. niio

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      • Lorizin July 18, 11:30

        Hi Red.
        We’re on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. We don’t have a dog or cat – in fact, cats are being banned on the Island as they kill native wildlife and birds. Possums, like all other Australian native animals, are protected. Rats and mice are a different kettle of fish – I’ll look around for castor beans and will plant those with the artichokes when we get our replacement garden fence built and water system set up again. Hopefully, the new fence will keep out possums, but if they get in and chew on castor bean roots, well, so be it. Thank you for your help; it’s much appreciated.

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        • red July 19, 03:02

          Lorizin: Are you getting the posts? I thought you were in the US, the name sounds like a variant of Lozen, the Apache woman who terrorized northwest Mexico and parts of the Southwest after her family was killed by scalp hunters.

          Castor beans have been used since domesticated in Ethiopia for pest control and the oil. niio

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  27. Lorizin July 18, 11:36

    I’ve replied to Red on two posts, but can’t see either of my replies. Can anyone else see them? One was thanking him for information on keeping pests from eating our Jerusalem artichoke crops, the other was also regarding artichokes. I’m wondering if it’s just that they are not visible to me, or if I’m missing doing something when attempting to post them.

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    • red July 19, 03:05

      Lorizin, are any of mine getting to you? I can see yours fine. Most new posts will not show up for several hours or even a day.

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      • Lorizin July 19, 20:52

        Hi Red. Maybe the time it takes for posts to appear has been the problem. Not sure, but I’m finding I’m having other problems with my computer too, so maybe a combination.
        Apart from our Jerusalem artichokes always being eaten, we used to have a productive garden – until January when bushfires wiped out just over half of Kangaroo Island, including our farm. Now my husband is struggling away trying to get fences up to keep our cattle off the roads, the neighbour’s sheep out of our place, fences up around the goat paddock so we can get our goats back from a kind friend who has been caring for them since just before the fire came roaring through, and hopefully in the next few days can start on getting fences and watering system installed so we can have vegies again. Me having health issues and unable to help with fencing nowadays, and the farm not being insured hasn’t helped, as purchasing fencing materials has become hard (in short supply and prices sky-rocketed because of all the fires around Australia this last summer). But we’ll get there! We have enough Jerusalem artichokes to start again once a fence is up, just need to find a source for the castor beans you’ve suggested. And we’re all helping one another by sharing whatever seeds, cuttings and other plant materials we have that didn’t burn, or which has reshot since the fire, so gradually things will get back to a ‘new normal.’
        I enjoy reading everyone’s posts and getting to know a little about you all. So, hi to everyone, from Lorizin in Aus.

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        • red July 20, 03:15

          Legal notice, the plant is legal in Au. https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/land-management/health-pests-weeds-diseases/weeds-diseases/invasive-plants/other/castor-oil-bush

          to buy https://www.amazon.com/s?k=castor+oil+seeds&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

          You live in a tropical zone and it will be a perennial. Some varieties can get as large as trees. Farmers like it and harvest for the oilseed. If purified right, I think it can be used in place of or mixed with diesel. what’s left after taking the oil is still toxic, but high in fertilizer value.Just out of curiosity, what soil type do you farm? Ours is gravel adobe, Ph 8+
          So far, weather predictions state no snow for our winter, drat it. niio

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          • Lorizin July 22, 09:37

            Hi Red. We’re not tropical, being on Kangaroo Island right down on the southern coast of Aus. We have a Mediterranean climate.Average summer temps here are in the mid twenties celcius, although at times we can get temps in the mid thirties and over, Summer is dry.
            Winter daytime temps are between about 12 and 17 C, with nights going down to about 2C at times. Our farm gets severe frosts at imes between March and November, when we have clear nights and no rain. Rain is in winter, with our area getting about 450-500ml per year.
            Where we grow vegies it is old river flats with silty soil over clay.

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            • red July 22, 14:14

              Lorizin: Yeah, my bad. I googled AFTER I wrote 🙂

              You’re subtropical, like we are. We can get snow, and the temps can drop into the mid-20s F. Our rains are starting, thank God. they say an average year, between 13 inches and 16. Wind is more a problem than the sun, tho we can get well over 100 F for a month or more. Winds were clocked at 40 MPH, but this valley is a wind tunnel, wide to the west, then a narrow gap around Cascabel (rattlesnake) east of Tuscon. good cattle country in the valleys, Good for goats in the mountains.

              Date palms, pomegranate trees, a lot of citrus, mesquite, cactus. Tomatoes like Punta Banda and Porter do well. I have kohlrabi in the garden yet, but along with brussels sprouts, they’re waiting for cool weather to produce. Chilis do well, with Chimoyo and Sandia surviving wind and frost, but will freeze down to the roots in winter, then come back. Because of the Bighorn wilderness fire, not a lot of garden. Quail and javelina pigs wrecked much of it, but the quail also cleared out sowbugs.

              In late September, the black radishes go in. Bugs and rodents, and javelina won’t touch them. AKA German horseradish. My sisters have sandy soil, and like them because they deter nematodes.

              Be blessed with rain. we play the cards we’re dealt. Last winter, the rains (mists) were slacking, and this year that and the winds wrecked a lot of mesquite. We only got 4 gallons of beans from the tree, but it did a lot better than those out back in the brush. niio

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  28. red August 25, 01:34

    Best way to store ‘chokes is in-ground. They get very sweet after a few months, and are a major source of sugar in a lot of nations. They tolerate Arizona heat and wind (Zone 9), but need more water than plants native to the area. They look great in a hidden garden, a garden of eatable ornamental plants. In wetter areas, they can take over, but cardboard will kill off unwanted plants. Ours are still in bloom, but tubers won’t be dug till late winter, mid-January. niio, and thanks for the atrticle!

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  29. Kathleen December 20, 22:35

    Great article, and such useful information. I’ve been growing these for 2 or 3 years now, but I had no idea!

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