Giant Sunchokes Grown in Free Wood Chip & Coffee Ground Compost (Jerusalem Artichokes)


My curiosity finally got the best of me, and I decided to measure our sunchokes to see how tall they’ve gotten. When I planted just 8 tubers in early April, I didn’t expect the garden bed to be so thick with sunchokes, and I never thought I’d have to climb this high up a ladder to reach the top. It turns out the tallest sunchoke is 10 foot 10 inches tall. That’s pretty tall for sunchokes, which usually grow 5 to 10 feet high. With another 6 weeks or so before our first frost, it’ll be interesting to see how tall they get before the plants die back from the cold. One of the great things about documenting our garden’s progress on video is that I can look back and see exactly what I did in the past, and learn from what worked well and what didn’t work so well. The sunchokes have certainly worked out well, so I’m very happy to have video that shows exactly how I made the compost that was used to grow our giant sunchokes. I started making the compost early last summer in a repurposed garbage bin that was provided by the city at no cost. It has holes drilled in the bottom and sides for aeration and drainage. As always, I only used free ingredients to make the compost. I started by alternating layers of aged wood chips and green yard waste, and initially topped of the pile with free used coffee grounds and more aged wood chips. Over time, the pile cooked down to about half its original size and in late summer I filled the bin all the way to the top with mostly aged wood chips and used coffee grounds, but also autumn leaves and yard waste. After a long cold winter, early this April I sifted the compost into a new raised bed I made for the sunchokes. . I was able to fill the small raised bed from just the top half of the compost pile, which means the compost was made mostly from aged wood chips and used coffee grounds, with a small amount of leaves and yard waste thrown in the mix as well. Since planting the tubers, I’ve done nothing to the sunchoke bed except to add leaf and comfrey mulch and apply actively aerated compost tea a few times. I may have also fed the soil one or two comfrey smoothies. This autumn we hope to see sunchoke flowers bloom. If we do, we’ll probably snip some of them to encourage root production instead of seed production. But we’ll also keep some flowers just to have something pretty to look at as the garden winds down for the year. Our harvest will start after the first frost in October, because the cold makes sunchokes taste sweeter. And, of course, we’ll leave some of the tubers in the ground to provide another free and easy crop of sunchokes for next year. So, we’ve had great results with the wood chip and coffee ground compost, but I’m not saying this is the key to growing giant sunchokes. However, I do think this is yet another illustration of how you can get great results using only free resources without spending a penny on fertilizers or soil amendments. Well, that’s all for now. Thank you very much for watching, and until next time remember You can change the world one yard at a time.

63 thoughts on “Giant Sunchokes Grown in Free Wood Chip & Coffee Ground Compost (Jerusalem Artichokes)

  1. Again another fantastic video full of great information! I can't believe how high those are, ours are about 7ft tall. I definitely need to get my hands on some woodchips and use the same soil median you used. Great work Patrick 🙂

  2. Once they start to flower, they stop growing. The flowers will be the only new growth. Then they just chill out and grow tubers I guess. I can't get enough nutrition in my bed, they are all in pretty bad shape. I have considered digging up a few to see if they are just so dense, there is nowhere else to go.

  3. Have you ate any of the artichokes, I have heard stories what the can do to you (gas)
    but I have never had one, so I thought I would ask you what they taste like and how you prepared them. I understand that they are easy to grow..thumbs up..cheers.

  4. Those are monsters mine are far smaller however they are over crowded in a container.  Ill leave one in the container for next year and harvest if I can the rest!  

    Thank you for sharing my friend!

  5. Does your raise bed have a floor??  Does it need one. Just curious because I would like to put them in a raised bed but hear they can escape captivity and  am afraid they will take over the garden.

  6. They will probably keep growing without flowering until the frost kills them, that's my experience here, only the ones without proper nutrition and water produce flowers. No flowers means plenty of tubers and big ones, good luck.

  7. Wood chips are amazing. Too bad they are in really high demand in Denmark as a biofuel. It makes them quite expensive. I bought 35 cubic meters of wood chips for $940. 🙁

  8. I usually cut mine to about 1 metre high and try to grow them in ground that needs breaking up…… time to dig some up I think!

  9. I look forward to seeing your results. i planted them this year too. Some in an old wheelbarrow and in the ground. The one in the ground had almost all leaved ate off. And the others were just topped. So mine did not get more than 2 feet tall. It was either deer or groundhogs. So I get to see how they do in adverse conditions. Thanks for sharing your results too.

  10. when you first planted those, your soil made me drool. I have never seen soil like that.. I can only hope that my garden will eventually look like that. 

  11. Some great things in this video. First of all, great sun chokes. The plants look amazing and have great vigor. I love the compost and the best part was using the sieve to separate our large wood chips. Great idea and will keep that in mind! Happy Gardening!!

  12. Nice sunchockes. On the list for next year. Your right about the documentation of the garden It helps.
     

  13. I'll be really happy to see your harvest.  In my hot climate, I got great plants, flowers and not one tuber.  Having said that, I also didn't know to snip the flowers off to encourage root growth. 

  14. Wow – they are huge and lush! Lovely looking compost too. Did you turn the compost much or just let it break down as you layered it in the bin? The constant turning when hot composting puts me off completely.

  15. I found that the dwarf variety (mine) handle the wind a little better in the 18 gallon tubs. I had a wind storm dump one of my plants last evening. If they were all 10 feet tall like yours, I would have had all three dumped! So there can be an advantage to growing pathetic looking sunchokes like mine! Have a great day Patrick!

  16. That compost looks good enough to eat! No flowers on my little specimen of a sunchoke yet. I see you have the string keeping yours from flailing all over!

  17. Very pretty artichokes, I wonder do the leaves and stems have a nice fragrant smell? I have some plants growing wild on my property and they look like jerusalem artichoke and smell very fragrant and nice. They might just be another variety of sunflower though. I'v never grown sunchokes before. Also do you know if the seeds are large and prickly? Thanks for the video.

  18. Those are beautiful plants. Even if you don't get any chokes, they'll make great compost. I need to try grow sunchokes, can you reccomend someone to order from? Thanks!

  19. someone I bought some worm castings from this past spring gave me 1 plant of Jerusalem artichoke and something he called "Chinese artichokes"…I had never heard of neither of these…what do you use them for? Thanks

  20. Wow..
    Ours barley made 6' here when we tried them..
    Definitely think you'll get a good harvest from these plants mate.. 
    Nice one 🙂

  21. Another great video, All your plants look to be in fantastic condition. All the composting you do you never mention Bokashi any reason for this?

  22. Hi Patrick, wow they are tall, just a small point. If you have more space next season, try some without all the coffee grounds. Just to see the difference. As you know coffee grounds are extremely high in nitrogen (leaf and stalk growth) and may not produce as many tubers? Worth trying to see if , not so large lush plants, produce more or less? Interesting this gardening thing isn't it? Anyway as a neighboring screen yours are fantastic. Good luck and happy gardening.  

  23. Ohhh I didn't realize I should have cut the flowers down… I have had flowers on mine for 1-2 weeks now… oh well…. The flowers are beautiful. BTW I found my sunchoke tubers at my grocery store, it was cheaper than ordering from a seed catalog.

  24. I LOVE you! just going you this morning, and your voice is sooooo relaxing. would you know what would be the best pants to grow in the fall/winter

  25. I grow more sunchokes than I know what to do with – starting with a few baby ones smaller than my finger that I got at the health food store. They can be super aggressive in the garden, but the crop makes up for it. I'm in the foothills of the Sierra mountains, about 2,000 ft in elevation, zone 8b. It's the last week of October, in a very dry & hot year, and the sunchokes are in poor soil with so-so watering – they are over 6 ft tall, and I will probably start harvesting them in late November. This is a great perennial crop – unless you get every bit of tuber out of the soil, they will resprout on their own. I'm looking at more perennial vegetables for next year – it's the way to go!

  26. In video "Everything You Know About Composting is Wrong: Mike McGrath at TEDxPhoenixville"
    Mike McGrath says the same, only he uses leaves as a carbon source instead of wood chips, I think mixing leaves and chips is super: "The best compost is made from shredded leaves and the best source full of nitrogen is the coffee grounds. It is really hot, it will move the composting process along and rich in calcium, phosphorus and potassium".
    Also documentary back to eden shows how effective are wood chips, laid in the soil as blanket
    John has video where his friends grow giant greens in wood chips decomposed by mushroom spores and rock minerals
    And where can gardener get coffee grounds? just buy coffee bins and grind them for garden? what is approximate ratio? Thank you

  27. It is getting harder to get "FREE" coffee ground from Starbucks these days! In the long run, you have to be able to grow your own organic matter! Also, you can't do composting any more cause composting will lead to a lot of waste, especially nitrogen.

  28. Hi again a question about the taste.The sun chokes harvested from compost layers and the sun chokes harvested from deeper clay layers of the same plant exhibit any differences in taste and texture?I highly appreciate your response..

  29. Thankyou for testing!.i used to notice the taste difference of a tropical fruit grown on same tree depending on the season s and previous year's compost .( if the compost is hay based or sugarcane based of course there is cow manure in it always).

  30. OK, Patrick. My sunchoke tubers are sitting on my kitchen table, having been deliverd from a seller on Amazon yesterday. Now what? I'm in zone 5-6ish (I live on a ridge). These chokes came without instructions. Do I go out and plant them now(our soil is workable today) or do I let them dry and plant later in the spring. So confused! They seem to have been lifted freshly from the ground before coming to me. Thank you for your help! 🙂

  31. Hi Patrick, thank you. Our ground is quite workable and just today I've planted them in a raised need where tomatoes, peppers and herbs were brown lady season. Theywill be kept company by garlic this coming season. It's a4x8 foot bed, so hopefully they will be happy there. I cannot wait to have a sunchoke harvest this November! Your videos about them educated and inspired me. Thank you! !

  32. Hi Patrick, thank you. Our ground is quite workable and just today I've planted them in a raised need where tomatoes, peppers and herbs were brown lady season. Theywill be kept company by garlic this coming season. It's a4x8 foot bed, so hopefully they will be happy there. I cannot wait to have a sunchoke harvest this November! Your videos about them educated and inspired me. Thank you! !

  33. Hi Patrick, thank you. Our ground is quite workable and just today I've planted them in a raised need where tomatoes, peppers and herbs were brown lady season. Theywill be kept company by garlic this coming season. It's a4x8 foot bed, so hopefully they will be happy there. I cannot wait to have a sunchoke harvest this November! Your videos about them educated and inspired me. Thank you! !

  34. I planted some sunchokes in february, it's now march and they are about a foot tall. How long before I can harvest them?

  35. Have you ever companion planted with Sunchokes? I'm curious that since the stalks are so tall they might work with companions such as peas or pole beans. I want to grow these but I'm assuming it's too late in the season. Should I wait until next year?

  36. understand you like the chokes but you can grow more food if you cut them and grow something more prolific and easier to harvest.

  37. That is amazing. This is my first year they are just over 7 feet and it is still June. I can't wait. I will put woodchips and coffee grounds. Love all tour videos. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *