Jerusalem Artichoke and Groundnut (Hopniss)


Silly idea here, but I’ve been pondering this.

Jerusalem Artichokes send up tall stalks. Groundnut (Apios Americana) is a nitrogen fixing vine.

Both are tubers that get dug up maybe once a year, at comparable times.

What do you think? Would coplanting them be likely to give me a free trellis and a bed full of goofy tubers, or would they both try to strangle each other out and leave me with a hopeless mess?


I think Eric Toensmeier actually recommends that polyculture as an alternative to the standard corn & beans (possibly with a Talet / Hog Peanut ground cover). If you get a fertile pair of varieties, you could get pods out of the Groundnuts as well.


That’s what I’ve got. The question is, what to do with the pods? I did an internet search for that and could find many resources for the tubers, but none for the pods.


Sounds worth trying. I’ve experimented a bit growing both but not together. The hopniss didn’t do well here in open sun but was okay (but not lush) in a mulched spot that only gets a few hours of morning sun. It only grew 4-5 ft high. My sunchokes grow 6-7 ft. You might want to consider growing the sunchokes in the area for a year or so first until they grow in thicker to supply more shade? Neither plant grew great here directly planted into my clayish soil but did alright in beds I’d dug up. In fact I’m currently kill mulching some of the sunchokes that are trying to overrun my raised beds. Please let us know how it turns out.


Mine did great in full sun and I’m also in 7b-at least 20 feet of growth, huge tubers, lots of pods. I did apply supplemental water. I wonder if you have a more northern strain?


Glad to hear it might be just my strain - I think I got it from OIKOS so it definitely could be the case. Sounds like I should try a different source next time. Do you recall your source? Yours sound great and that should certainly work better in this polyculture.


Mine were also from Oikos. I don’t remember the exact selections but I know I bought tubers from plants that originated in the southern U.S.


I think the pods (specifically the seeds, though I’d chew on a pod to try it once) are usually compared to peas in cooking.

I have Nutty #3 from OIKOS, but it’s not doing very well in my climate. I think it would benefit from winter chill to resprout, even though it’s a southern strain. I have one tuber in the fridge, and one in the yard. It’ll be a race to see which one sprouts first.


Will do. Check back in spring 2022 :smile:


i just put in 2 raised beds of these last fall. they are next to each other but not planted together although i may allow them to intermingle after reading this. mine came from oikios as well. i planted kennebec strain groundnut and a northern strain of the j. artichoke. i heavily mulched both beds. we get a good amount of rain here so they should do well.


I already have a bed that I’m trying to shift to sunchokes. The groundnuts sound interesting and a friend was able to track down a couple of roots for us so we’ll give them a try.
Thanks for the suggestion!


Just a note. My jerusalem artichoke has been very invasive. When I got the plant, they gave me a large plastic container and suggested I plan it within that pot to keep control of its growth. Of course, I turned a deaf ear (why do I do that?) and it has spread across my garden and into my yard. I will have to dig up all the tubers to cut it back, and that will be a challenge.


I tried to grow them together in a small raised bed. The sunchokes grew wonderfully, but the groundnuts languished and I could find no sign of any tubers besides sunchokes when I dug them up. My first batch of groundnuts were from Oikos but I tried again to plant some in the sunchoke bed another year, I think from Fedco? Anyway, those did not do well either. I dug up the sunchokes last fall because no one in my family particularly likes to eat them. Too bad because they grow really easily; may need to put plastic or plywood over the that area to get rid of them. On the other hand the plants that people do like eating have a lot more problems!


I discovered last year that if you make lacto-fermented pickles with them, they are really quite good. If you’re in to that sort of thing.


I have done a certain amount of lacto pickles from various veggies - that is a good idea, maybe I’ll try that out. Do you slice them up first or leave them in big chunks?


I actually just washed them thoroughly and fermented them whole in brine:

Since I wrote that post, I feel like the flavor balanced out quite a bit. My brother really liked them and I sent him home with a jar. I should crack open another jar tonight and see how they’re faring. I like to take the pickled tubers and slice thinly.


Cool. I just like them sliced thin and baked with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. SO MUCH.

I’ve never tasted groundnuts. They just should like fun.

I was planning on trying one of the Sunchoke varieties Oikos says is clump forming. If it’s not I’ll be one more person learning a lesson often learned…


So I have done all most exactly what you proposed.
Although the artichokes where there first , and well established.
Planted ground nuts on either side ,the ground nut are thriving,but seam to be heading" away from "the artichokes .
I would have thought they would have mingled more. And maybe they would if planted at the same time . Both seam to be thriving, but maybe not playing well together.
No plans to grow anything else in that area in the foreseeable future… As I believe it may be all but impossible to eradicate
Either one !
Will be fun to see who wins. May not be me ?
So… Be carful what you wish for.


Harrumph. Thank you; that has me rethinking.


Other comments…
Jerusalem artichokes are a amazing plant. On good ground they can produce more organic matter ( both above and below ground) than about anything I have seen.
They store great in the ground,
I just don’t eat that many , but it’s a good food source if you need it. Survival food. Care free. May try the ferment mentioned above. Hard to get rid of. Can/ will slowly spread.
Great in the right place. By there self, or of to the side somewhere. ?
Ground nuts I really like the flavor etc. would eat a lot of but, hard to dig in my clay soil, would be best in a sandy soil. And it too is a very aggressive plant. But a vine that spreads.
Deer will eat the vines if they can, feed value better than alfalfa. They like something to climb on
So both are amazing food plants ! In the right spot.
Both could be hard to control. In the wrong spot.
Just need to give them a spot where they can do there own thing. Keep both away from other things you care about.