Fresh starch in your Y2K diet : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The three most important elements of survival are these, and in this order: water, food and shelter. One presumes you have the means to collect and store water and that you have a place to live. Now about food. After growing up ina country with rationing until I was 12, I can assure you that food is much more important than stock certificates, currency, or antiques and paintings. (Ask The Hungarian about Hungarian antiques and she will tell you there are very few--they were used for firewood during WWII. She has sold hers for a pretty price and used the money to buy Y2K food and supplies.) I think we've got the potatoes and tomatoes down pat. Here's a change of pace: Jerusalem artichokes--very easy--TOO easy!--to grow. And I do not think they suffer from any blight.

From the NC Extension Service at

February 1997, by Linda Blue, Agricultural Extension Agent


Jerusalem artichokes, Helianthus tuberosus, are also known as sunchokes. A member of the sunflower family, they are native to many parts of North America and were introduced to white settlers by Native Americans. The edible part of the plant is the tuber, which can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled.

A word of caution is in order before planting Jerusalem artichokes in the garden. The plant is a perennial which can easily become an invasive weed if all of the tubers are not dug from the garden each year.

Jerusalem artichokes are planted much like potatoes. Plant as early as possible, generally in March. Use whole tubers or pieces, at least 2 ounces in size and with at least 2 buds. Space tubers 12 to 24 inches apart and 3 to 5 inches deep. Soil should be well drained. Fertilize lightly. Use a high phosphate fertilizer if the soil is low in phosphate.

Tubers do not begin to form until August, after you have enjoyed the show of the bright yellow sunflowers. Do not dig tubers until the tops of the plants have been killed by frost. Then cut and remove the top of the plant and dig as you would potatoes. Be careful not to skin or bruise the tubers. Store at high humidity, near 32 degrees.

If you save tubers for replanting next year, save large healthy tubers, not the runts.

End of cut and paste.

Cook as you would potatoes.

-- Old Git (, May 07, 1999


Excellent idea.

You could grow them in raised wooden boxes, and add 6" sections of wood to raise the walls as they grow. This way, the risk of having tubers escape to become invasive is minimized. I'm planning to grow potatoes and peanuts this way.

-- Bill (, May 07, 1999.

If you use pressure treated wood be sure to line it with plastic. Otherwise the chemicals used to treat the wood will leach into the soil and be absorbed into your good produce. Great post Old Git. We planted sunchokes last year and now I'm very glad I did.

mb in NC

-- mb (, May 07, 1999.

Dear Old Git, I very much appreciate your posts. Do you have all of them in files? If so, could you pkZIP them together so that I could post them on my website?

The old Mother Earth News fuel alcohol seminar stated that jerusalem artichokes were THE crop for fuel alcohol as they put out more per acre than any other crop for that purpose.

I always thought that if I had a triangle of land at the intersection of three roads, that would be the ideal place to plant JA, since JA is not QUITE as bad as kudzu, but is definately headed in that direction.

-- Ken Seger (, May 07, 1999.

It is my understanding that Jerusalem artichokes are a natural source of insulin and therefore are a wonderful item to have available in such times as are coming.

-- winna (??@??.com), May 07, 1999.

Also consider them as rabbit, goat, and pig food.

My sources say to leave them in the ground and dig as needed.

I got mine from Seeds Blum. Sorry, don't have the URL handy

-- Jon Williamson (, May 07, 1999.

Jerusalem artichokes! Have done that. Invasive weed doesn't even begin to describe the problem. After 15 y, I still have to rogue them out of the back field [1/2 mile from where I planted them]. When grown here they are hard to peel. Like taking the skin from a wart. Only Russian borage is worse. It is now a fight between borage and endophyte infected fescue on my land.


-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 07, 1999.


To clear up a point: They are a source of inulin. It is a polyfructan. It is claimed to be a better source of carbohydrate for diabetics. It is not insulin.


-- Z1X4Y7 (, May 07, 1999.

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