Multipurpose Jerusalem Artichokes

I couldn’t resist any longer, I just had to see what was in the ground under the jerusalem artichoke plants! Those jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) that have been guarding the garden against a recurrent blackberry invasion. They have grown to over two meters, flowered with their beautiful miniature sunflowers, held on to the soil on the slope and survived antler rubbing from the deer, all obvious to the eye, but how did they look underground? Turns out they looked goood…. 🙂 Smooth, lots of ’em, and the biggest were  almost the length of my palm. Tasty when diced and baked together with other root vegetables or in one of my favorite salads: grated jerusalem artichokes, carrots and apples. All in season locally right now. And another really nice thing about j. a. : they are really hard to get rid of, they keep coming back year after year, from overlooked tubers in the ground.  Oh, and they keep well in the soil through the winter, they can just be dug up when needed, as long as the ground isn’t frozen. It’s a win/win/win/win/win… many times!

The blackberry challenge

We spent quite a few days clearing the new garden area of blackberry brambles this past winter, and were  eager to see how the edge plantings stood up against summer’s invasion of brambles. We planted rhubarb (rabarber), Jerusalem artichoke (jordskok) and Walking stick kale (Jersey kale, brassica oleracea var. longata) to keep the blackberries at bay. The kale turns out to be one of the deer’s favorite snacks, so it will definitely not reach walking stick height this year, nor hold the blackberry brambles back. The rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes however, are working out nicely. They effectively shade out anything coming form outside the garden, leaving me to keep the ground elder (skvalderkål) under control on the garden side. And there are still plenty og blackberries within reach for us, the Garden Chafer (Gåsebille) and whoever else may like them.