If you planted Jerusalem Artichokes back in spring, you may be wondering if they will ever flower, or stop growing! Ours are huge, and only just beginning to bud. Give them a little longer before you dig them up… they should start flowering in the next couple of weeks and then the foliage will die back ready for you to start harvesting them. If you want a bigger yield, you can cut the stalks down (now, before they flower) to about 1m/1.5m tall so that they put their energy into producing tubers. Otherwise just let them carry on growing so that you and the bees can enjoy the display of yellow flowers for a few weeks.
The foliage will start to die back later on in autumn. Then chop down the foliage leaving a 10cm stalk (you can put the dead foliage on the compost pile) and start harvesting your artichokes as and when you want to cook with them. This’ll be from late autumn through winter and you needn’t worry too much about light frosts, they’ll be fine. However, if it does start to get very cold like last winter you may want to dig them up before the ground gets frozen solid!
One final word of advice: be as thorough as you can when you dig them up as any tubers left in the ground will grow back again next year and they have a habit of taking over somewhat! Oh, and don’t eat too many at once or you might get the farts!