Lessons learn in 2014
Every year I learn new things about raising plants. This year was not different. I had to redo all my Jerusalem artichoke beds due to a type of sunflower moth. Talking to an insect specialist it is likely a insect that feeds of the root of wild sunflowers in my area. Jerusalem artichokes are native to my area and related to sunflowers. So after many years of growing chokes I now have a pest problem. I will likely take care of the issue with predatory nematodes or fungus treatments in July and August. That is the likely time when the eggs were laid on the chokes.
I am also having an issue storing the chokes. They are like some of my other plants that are very high in water. If I was storing them for food I really need to store them in a cold area in sand of something. For they tend to mold very easily. I left most of my root stock in very large pots outside to winter over. I will likely try to dust with sulfur and put in a plastic grocery bag full of shavings next year. It is one thing to grow plants for food it is quite another to store it till you need it. The best place to store chokes is in the ground since they winter over in my area.
I have some small potatoes that I found in one of my pots that had herbs. I had thought those potatoes died out over two years ago. The pot had thyme that died out last winter. When I cleaned out the pot this fall to plant garlic I found the potatoes. It is January 2015 and the potatoes have sprouted. I will have to plant them in pots this weekend if I wish to keep them. I will likely baby them through the next month or so since I really want to keep a potato that will overwinter in my area.
My ground nuts I would consider a worthwhile crop now. I finally got enough to share with some people. I replanted chokes and ground nuts together in pots. I am hoping the ground nut vines will grow up the chokes. Ground nuts provide nitrogen and will hopefully reduce the sunflower moth attacks on the chokes. The nice thing about these two crops is that I can wait up to three years to harvest the roots and replant them. So they are a storable food source for me and my animals, provided I deal with the sunflower moths.
Another good crop to winter over are the garlics and onion families. I dug up my French grey shallots and replanted them this year. I also planted my garlic and purchased some new types. I could have planted green onions and long day onions in the fall and they would have wintered over. I have done this in the past. But time and money did not allow it this year. My garlic chives did survive this year so if they make it through the winter I will be transplanting these to make new larger containers of them. As a general rule I like to have at least two containers of any one plant that will overwinter. Sometimes one dies and the other makes it through the hard winter.
Well that is all for now. I am planning for 2015 and ordering seeds. I will try to be better with updating this blog.