Raised Bed Plan – Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) and Beans
This Raised Bed is one of few Beds in my Garden where i only grow one batch of vegetables during a season. No Succession Planting in this Bed. Why? Simply because this is the Sunchokes (or Jerusalem Artichokes) Bed, and it takes them all year to grow. I do practice companion planting, and grow my Sunchokes with Beans.
Why these crops?
Sunchokes is one of my absolute favourites to grow. It’s super easy and grows very well in my garden. It takes some time, but I love them and we eat loads of them. They are harvested between October to February and it´s lovely to have something to harvest all winter. I grow my Sunchokes with Beans. They grow well together and Beans are happily climbing the stems of the tall Sunchokes and I don’t have to figure out trellis for the Beans to climb. Great for me being a lazy gardener.
4a = This bed is in the “Needs Almost Nothing” Quarter in my Crop Rotation Plan.
It is one out of Several Garden Beds (29 when I’m writing this, but tends to be more and more each season…) See the total list of beds and Layout in my Garden Plan for Raised Beds 2017.
Time Plan for this Bed
This is a Bed that is started already previous autumn, so since this is the plan for 2017, I will start this bed in October 2016 (in fact, I had to write down the plan for this bed now since I started it today!).
The dates will depend a lot on where you live, and what average temperatures and sunny hours you have at different months. I’m in Northern Europe and this is the Plan I follow:
October – end of:
- Add Chicken Manure to the Garlic Bed. I add approximately 200 grams of manure to a Raised Bed that is 80×120 centimeter. Sunchokes needs less nutrients than for example the neighbor Garlic Bed that I feed with 300 grams of Chicken Manure.
- Plant Sunchoke Bulbs. I have a variety called Henriette. (I plant 15 in one Bed)
- Start Beans indoors
June – mid:
- Move your Beans Outdoors. Plant them close enough to the Artichoke Stems to make it possible for the Beans to start climbing the Stems as they grow
- Harvest your Beans continuously as soon as they are ready
- Start harvesting Sunchokes. You can harvest continuously until they start to grow again in the spring. Cover them with a Blanket during winter to avoid the Ground freezing (it’s not hurting the Bulbs, but makes it hard to get to them..)
Leave some bulbs in the ground and add chicken manure and compost if you want to grow Sunchokes in the same place next season. If you want to grow them somewhere else, save some Bulbs and plant them where you want to. I’m moving them to my Raised Bed no 3a for next year (previously the Garlic Bed).
My Kitchen Garden is built with a modular approach. I have a number of Raised Beds (Deep Beds) – currently 29 beds. Most of them are 120×80 centimeters. They are Deep Beds and I always cover them with Organic Material to improve soil and nutrients, and also have a No Dig Garden. More background information can be found in these posts:
- Kitchen Garden Layout Plan – Layout overview
- Building a Raised Bed Kitchen Garden – How to Deep Dig the frames and feed them with organic material
- How to build Raised Bed Frames – Step-by-Step guide on how to do the Frames for the Raised Beds.
Methods I use to plan each Garden Bed
I plan each bed carefully and enjoy making and developing my plans. I try to consider different angles:
– Succession Planting: I want to have at least 3 batches from each bed to maximize my harvest
– Crop Rotation: I rotate my basic crops each year to eliminate diseases. I have a 4 year Crop Rotation Plan (more about my Crop Rotation Plan here).
– Companion Planting: I want each batch to consist of Plants that thrive together to get good harvest and keep the plants healthy.
– Continuous Harvest: I want to be able to harvest from early spring to late autumn without having to preserve too much food. We prefer to eat all the vegetables as fresh as possible.
Don’t hesitate to discuss the planning of this bed with me. There is always loads of input that can help improving this further.
Update, 23rd of October
I’ts end of October and I started this Raised Bed today. I harvested Sunchokes/Jerusalem Artichokes from last years Sunchokes Bed. Surprisingly many and large Bulbs considering the tiny space they’ve been growing in last season. I’m really looking forward to give them more space for next year. I only harvested one Plant today, it gave me about 25 bulbs: 15 to plant in my new Raised Bed described above, and ~10 to eat for dinner.
Some harvested Bulbs are huge!
Selecting these 15 bulbs for planting:
I’m adding 200 grams of Chicken Manure to the Raised Bed before I plant the Bulbs. It’s a bit less than the instruction that comes with Chicken Manure when I buy it, but 300 grams as recommended is too much for Sunchokes.
I’m Placing 15 bulbs in my Raised Bed that is 120×80 cm. It’s a little bit closer than recommended, but i think that it will be perfect since my Raised Beds are Deep Beds with plenty of depth for the roots to grow. (More about how to dig Deep Beds, here: Building a Raised Bed Kitchen Garden.) This is the distance that I use between the Bulbs for this Bed:
After deciding where to place the Bulbs, I simply dig them about 10 cm into the soil. Last step is to cover the bed with leaves. Adding organic material on top of the Bed improves soil quality. I don’t use Grass Clipping for this Bed in the autumn.
I don’t plan to do anything at all with this Bed from now and until april when I start Beans for companion planting.
Update, 4th of April
The Sunchokes are still resting under a thick layer of autumn leaves. It’s time to start the Beans for this Raised Bed. Beans will grow together with the Sunchokes, and hopefully it will not be to crowded in this Raised Bed. The Bean variety selected for this Raised Bed is called Longbean Red Noodle, and is supposed to be about 2 m tall (same as the Sunchoke Stems) and give Beans that are 40-50 cm long!
Beautiful red seeds:
Update, 12th of November
Sunchokes are so precious, since they are one of the few vegetables that I can harvest during the winter. As I harvest each plant, I simply leave one bulb for a new plant to grow the next season.