Monday, August 15

Achocha's and Sunchokes

A few years ago the husband thought it would be a good idea to plant some sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, in the side field near the garden. At the time, I was happy that he was taking an interest in gardening and we put them in and watched them grow. Those things can really grow. And spread. And grow some more. It has turned into quite a large patch that is mostly unconstrained. It borders the small walking path that I mow around the exterior of the garden fence and I have kept it away from the grapes by mowing, also. The rest of it is just growing and spreading into the field and I do not mind very much at all.

They are pretty plants - lots of dense green foliage that does a great job of choking out any competing weed, including the aggressive mint that has found its way onto the property. The flowers resemble small sunflowers or daisy's which the bees love and I would be perfectly happy with a field of Jerusalem artichokes, the foliage being a chop-and-drop at the end of the season and the tubers, which resemble a ginger root, being food. They are also a potential ethanol fuel source which will take some time for us to figure out and decide if it is worth a try. 

The Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, before they flowered this season.

Last fall I orderd some achocha cucumber seeds from one of my favorite new website finds - An American Homestead. I posted about them back in June and they are definately worth a re-mention. They have a fantastic website and an even better Youtube channel with videos on just about everything you can think of related to homesteading and off-grid living. I highly recommend a binge-watch of their three seasons on shows as well as all the how-to videos. They have also recently started a live Saturday night podcast, 10pm EST through their Youtube channel and I never miss an episode.

The cucumber seeds I ordered are doing well despite the drought and the poor performance of my other traditional cucumbers. I have two separtate hills growing on different garden areas and so far they have both sent out a great quantity of climbing vines. I have yet to see any cucumbers, but due to the horrible weather we have had this summer I am surprised I have anything left growing in the garden at all. I'm just watching and waiting for my Achochas.

The Achocha cucumber vines growing alongside my yarrow.
A crop that doesn't seem to mind this heat, aside from the tomatoes and grapes, are my peppers. They plants are all big and healthy even though they got off to a slow start. We have been harvesting peppers for a few weeks now - not a lot - but enough for us.

Temperatures have been in the high 80's and low 90's for most of the month with humidity also in the high range - today it was 96%. It has been a terrible summer, weather-wise, for all of the farmers here and we will see produce prices going up (another reason we grow our own). Our water bill, when it comes, is going to be something I won't want to look at. Watering the garden just about every day has saved the tomatoes and peppers but the beans and cucumbers just couldn't handle it. What survived of teh bean crop are being left to dry on the plant to save for seed. They should be very hardy seeds for planting next year!

1 comment:

  1. Achocha fruits (like the flowers) can be tough to spot at the beginning - because they're green they don't stand out against the mass of foliage. But once you see the first one, you should see lots!

    I love your way of keeping the sunchokes under control. They don't normally flower here in the UK, so we miss out on that, but they're easy and productive plants.