Houston Sustainable Food Gardeners

A forum dedicated to discussing how to easily grow organic food sustainably and inexpensively year-round in urban Houston settings, in individual and community vegetable gardens. Other food related issues are also discussed.
 
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 Harvesting summer grown Jerusalem Artichokes: biomass for the garden in the summer, and tubers for food in the fall and winter!

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dragonfly
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Posts : 112
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Join date : 2010-06-04

PostSubject: Harvesting summer grown Jerusalem Artichokes: biomass for the garden in the summer, and tubers for food in the fall and winter!   Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:43 pm

Jerusalem Artichokes (Sun Chokes), derived from a variety of sunflowers native to North America, are great plants to grow in your garden and can be started from tubers purchased in the grocery store. You will never have to replant.

Since I wasn’t firm enough with them this past spring, I have several patches of them this year! The plants have been growing like crazy (not surprisingly) and thank goodness, since they are an incredibly great source of free biomass to be returned to the dirt. Throughout the summer you can cut them back and layer the cuttings right on top of the beds as mulch.

Given how aggressively most plants grow here in Houston over the summer, the use of on-site biomass for your garden is a no-brainer. You can let this self-grown biomass mulch down, on site, or pay extra, use energy, and increase pollution by first hauling your biomass off site and then hauling extra (nutritionally equivalent) biomass from someone else, back to your site. Someone’s making money!

‘Weeds’ are your friends and equal free, on-site, biomass. Living green cover is even better than mulch for mitigating the furnace-like heat of Houston’s summers; providing shade to the ground and to other plants.

Edible ‘weeds’ are your best friends. Ditto the above and you can eat them. Dayflower, epazote, mint, lambs quarters, purslane, dandelions, etc. and even the more pesky non-food varieties!

I notice that on the rare occasions I do work on my beds in the summer, clearing the rampant ‘extraneous’ growth (~15min for a 15’x4’ bed), the remaining ‘intended’ plants, previously fine, show greatly increased heat stress. For the home or community gardener, using dirt with a very high percentage of biomass, it is a myth that ‘weeds’ will hurt the growth of your food plants (unless, like morning glory, they grow completely over them!).

Jerusalem Artichokes, the plant that never stops giving!
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Harvesting summer grown Jerusalem Artichokes: biomass for the garden in the summer, and tubers for food in the fall and winter!
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