I harvested my little collection of Jerusalem artichokes (jordskokk) at home this week (the others I’ve posted about were grown at the community garden). All of these varieties I’ve been growing for a number of years:
Dave’s Shrine: purple skinned and long; a runner (jeg tror jeg fikk den fra Terry J. Klokeid for 20 år siden, see more om Terry below)
Urodny: From Danish Seed Savers about 5 years ago; it came to Denmark from the Czech Republic in 1969, early easier to clean variety, white skinned.
Bianka (From Swedish author Lena Israelsson in 2001; it seems to have originated in Sweden from gardening author and broadcaster Åke Truedsson who told me “All I know is that I found this variety everywhere in Russia and Siberia and it’s name was Bianka. I took it home to Sweden in 1989”
Stampede: I had noticed that the description of Stampede in Cornucopia II -a special high-yielding, extra-early strain, was very similar to Bianka which also seemed to be identical to the best yielding Norwegian variety I’d tried – Dagnøytral (dayneutral).
“Flowers in July and matures more than a month before common cultivars. White-skinned tubers are large, often weighing over 1/2 pound each. Relatively dwarf; height about 6 feet. Winter hardy in severe cold. Developed by Indians in northern Ontario who selected ; plants for earliness and tuber size”
I therefore set out to get hold of Stampede in order to compare all three varieties directly. Bunkie Weir on the Homegrown Goodness forum kindly sent me tubers in December 2008. The four varieties including another variety Dwarf Sunray were all grown together and all flowered on more or less the same day, were the same height and had similarly shaped compact knobbly tubers. I concluded that they were all the same clone that had been spread around the world (my conclusion hasn’t been tested genetically).
Fuseau: I think I got this one over 20 years ago from the UK (it was commercially available). This desciption is also from Cornucopia II: “Tapered, sweet potato-like tubers; 4 to 5 inches long, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; skin tan-colored, very smooth and entirely free of the knobs that characterize the common types and makes cleaning difficult.”
This variety didn’t grow well for me with variable yields from year to year as early frost would stop the tuber growth, but I kept it due to its easy to clean quality. It never managed to flower until this year, but not until mid-November (Stampede / Bianca / Dagnøytral usually flower in late September):
I first came in contact with Terry Klokeid of Amblewood Organic Farm on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada through the Edible Wild Onelist forum in 1999. He wrote:
“I have 16 varieties of sunroot, with (cooked) flavours ranging from sweet carrot and sweet walnut to globe artichoke flavour to bland and potato-like; sunroots for boiling and baking, and for salads. Container-grown varieties. Varieties for rabbits and other animals. There must be lots more varieties of sunroot out there, and I aim to collect and conserve all of them”
My last contact with him was in 2007 when he wrote: “I have access to the Agriculture Canada collection of a couple hundred accessions, but they are too poorly maintained by them to tell them apart. I started to grow some out in order to size up the tubers, but deer got the entire crop and I have been too distracted to replace it.”