Now, you might be wondering where are the surprises here? Why did I say gardens are full of surprises? So, here is the story. Last February (February of 2012), my same friend gave me one Jerusalem artichoke. I brought it home and planted it in the garden. It produced a tall plant - about 10 feet tall - with lots of smaller sunflower like flowers (I took a picture but of course when you need it you can't find it). With the advance of winter, it died down. I went to the garden to dig out the artichokes. Lo and Behold! nothing was there. "Well!", I said to myself, "you are always learning from your mistakes while gardening; and, it gave you lots of bright yellow, jovial, smaller-versions of sunflowers. So,...", and then I forgot all about it. I made the decision that if I needed to grow Jerusalem Artichokes, then I should follow whatever all those websites say and plant them in October to get a good harvest in the next fall. Of course, I didn't do that.
Then on January 30th, I went to the garden to plant the artichokes that I got from my friend again. This time there were lots of them. I went to the same spot, to plant them out, where I planted my first Jerusalem Artichoke. As I started digging, guess what I found? Yes, you have guessed correctly - I found lots of Jerusalem Artichokes that my very first plant produced. Apparently, Jerusalem Artichokes do not grow closer to the mother plant; they can grow at a quite a distance (1 or 2 feet) away and they also grow really in deep underground. So, while harvesting you need to dig really deep to find all the artichokes. Also, dig the ground in a radial circle 1 or 2 feet away from the mother plant as this plant can spread and can almost become like a weed. But if you don't mind native plant of the USA, nutritious food and lovely bright yellow flowers from a plant, then you will not mind the weed-like spreading habit of Jerusalem Artichoke. So, here is my harvest :-):