The Backyard Larder

A place to explore and buy perennial vegetables and other food plants.

Jerusalem Artichokes and the Wind (of the meteorological kind)

Some of our red Jerusalem artichokes at the allotment came down during a recent storm.

Jerusalem artichokes toppled by the wind

They are sometimes recommended as a windbreak for windy sites, but they really need some support themselves to be useful in this way. I think next year I’ll interweave twine supported by stakes between and around the plants. The other alternative would be to reduce the stems at some point during the summer so that they grow bushier but shorter. I’m not sure yet quite when and how to do this and if it would work. Worth experimenting with though.

The white-tubered Dwarf Sunray Jerusalem artichokes at the same site remained untoppled by the wind (they only grow to five or six feet).

Dwarf Sunray Jerusalem artichokes in autumn

They also have the advantage of flowering very charmingly – and far more willingly in the UK climate than other varieties.

Dwarf Sunray Jerusalem artichokes in flower

(Both the red tubers and the white Dwarf Sunray tubers are available to buy in the shop.)

In the foreground in the following photo is a truly dwarf variety that Rhizowen of Radix gave me. I’m looking forward to seeing what is under there.

Jerusalem artichoke 'Dwarf'

(The plant behind is Helianthus strumosus or paleleaf woodland sunflower, another gift from another fellow plant enthusiast, Nathan Shannon. It has edible tubers too. I don’t know if it will flower here – it didn’t this year. I’m looking forward to seeing what is under this one too.)

I also have thoughts on Jerusalem artichokes and wind of the farty sort. I’ve written about this before but there are further experiments to do 😉 – more on this next month……

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