Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This is How We Learn

Several years ago a friend gave me some native sunchokes (Helianthus tuberosus) from his yard and warned me, "They'll take over." I nodded but thought to myself, "I'll keep them in check. They won't take over in my yard." 

There is an adage in planting: right plant, right place. In the case of sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes), the right place is a large sunny field or side of the road where you're not planning to grow other perennials. While I thought I kept the sunchokes somewhat in check by only letting a handful of plants grow each year, I was naive in thinking of the plant in terms of what was visible above ground. 

Tuber harvest

The plants have spread their tubers throughout the small bed in front of our house. I was excited to harvest some...until I realized how pervasive they were. These plants will outlast and outcompete my time and attention. And this is how we learn.


  1. I used half to make a thick soup with celery, onions, and broth. The rest I gave to a friend who is a more experienced and creative cook than I. He's planning to plant some too.