Planting Sun Chokes, the forgotten American Native Vegetable
I don't know about yall, but I have been cooped up too long due to January's cold arctic blast. I am ready to garden. Fortunately South Carolina usually only gets a short taste of below freezing temperatures, allowing for a very long growing season.
We here at Sal's have several FREE gardening classes though out the year. Our first class of the year will be Saturday, January 20th, 11-12. We will be planting a little known and almost forgotten vegable, the Sun Choke. We will also be touching on what you can plant this month. Be sure to register, and come out and enjoy the fun. Now let me tell you a little bit about this vegetable.
The Sun Choke, also know as the Jerusalem Artichoke, is a species of Sun Flower, native to North America. Native Americans cultivated the root as a food source. The name Jerusalem came from the Italian word for sun flower- and stuck. Sun Choke is the most accurate name, as they can get 10 feet tall or more, crowned with beautiful yellow flowers. Be sure to plant your Sun Chokes in an area that it won't “choke” out the sun for your other garden plants.
It is very important to plant your Sun Chokes in a bed, or large container- as they are very invasive and will take over. Plant roots 4-6 inches deep, 12-18 inches apart. Plant them as soon as you purchase them, as you don't want them to dry out. In March, start watering them. The flowers are great for bringing bee's to your yard. The plants will start to die back in the winter. This is optimal time for harvest. You can leave them in the ground and use as you need them.
There are several ways to prepare them. One way is to boil them for 20 minutes, then peel. You can then put them in salads, or pretty much add to any dish. You can also eat them raw. Please share with us the dish or dishes you choose to make.
We will have some dishes for you to sample at our class, so come on out. We are all friendly around here. Happy Gardening.
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