Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jerusalem Artichokes, or - The Other Artichoke

We have a plot in a community garden. It's just a little plot and was intended to be a family activity. However, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. It has somehow become my sole responsibility to plan, plant, weed, harvest, and otherwise maintain our plot. Really, considering my boys, who have the attention spans of gnats unless it involves something rude or disgusting, this was a totally foreseeable outcome so I only have myself to blame....

Actually, the truth is, I love to make things grow, even if it isn't in amounts that substantially contribute to our diet. This year we have gotten peas, snow peas, and cucumbers from our garden. The deer liked the beans too much to share. None of the varieties of squashes did well, I think in part because we don't get enough sun in the corner of the garden where our plot is. The only thing left as of about a month ago was cucumbers and my artichokes, those tall leggy things in the front of the bed (and marigolds, just for color).

The surprise was the artichokes. I planted these artichokes expecting them to grow artichokes like you see in the store. My first clue that all would not go as planned was about half-way into the summer when I realized the leaves of my artichokes looked nothing like the artichokes in my neighbor's plot. About a month later, the neighbor's plant was sporting big, mouth-watering, lush artichokes. Mine...nada. About two weeks ago, I happened to mention to one of the other gardeners that my artichoke wasn't bearing. She very patiently informed me (I'm sure while internally rolling her eyes in disgust) that I had not planted THAT kind of artichoke. My variety, Jerusalem Artichoke, has little things like potatoes which have to be dug up - not the luscious leafy things which are merely plucked. Great! Note to self, - next time, bring shovel. I finally got around to that today. There was mulch which needed to be spread on the paths around our bed to keep the weeds down and I decided I would do both at the same time. About twelve wheelbarrow loads of mulch later, I knew I was finished shoveling mulch, hopefully for the year, so I harvested my artichokes and a few late cucumbers. I'm told that, after they are washed and cooked, these will taste almost exactly like artichoke hearts. I have about five pounds of them. Good thing I like artichoke hearts!


Barb said...

That's wild. I just heard of Jerusalem Artichokes the other day for the first time ~ now you mention it. And seeing as how I love artichoke hearts ~ I'll bet those are yummy.

Devin said...

The cucumbers are delicious. Lets use the whole bed next year for those.