Artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes, that is.

I spent a couple of hours down at the allotment digging this lot up.

Artichokes

Now, we love Jerusalem artichokes. We planted a crop a couple of years ago in a little patch on the allotment and soon had vast quantities of them. We gave bagfuls away to various friends on a fairly regular basis. Huge, huge crop. Last autumn, I dug up all but six plants (or so I thought).

The trouble with the humble Jerusalem artichoke (apart from the… ahem… effects it can have) is that whilst it’s relatively easy to grow, the hard bit is getting it to *stop* growing.

Today, for example. Those six shoots had multiplied, and were covering an area about a metre and a half square. I set to, digging them up. This time, no artichokes would remain.

Some of the shoots had tiny little tubers, so I saved some for a friend. Cute, aren’t they?

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As I said, these little blighters spread, so you’ve got to be careful. The tiniest bit of tuber left in the ground *will* quite cheerfully sprout, and will proceed to take over as much space as they can. They’re like triffids, albeit very tasty ones.

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They’re also incredibly fragile. You can just look at a shoot in the wrong way and it’ll snap. And the worst thing you can hear when attempting to clear a plot of artichokes is the little *crack* of an artichoke breaking.

It’s like the tuber is going ‘aha! You won’t get rid of me *that* easily!’ before burrowing deep, only to reappear weeks later.

And, no matter how carefully you dig, there’s always one you’ve missed…