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.

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