This sunflower relative is a native to North America that grows along many roadsides here in southern New Mexico. Even though it is not a desert plant, it can survive intense heat and limited water supply.
To see them form the tubers they do require more water than nature provides in southern New Mexico. Crop yields can be very high, typically 16–20 tonnes/ha for tubers, and 18–28 tonnes/ha green weight for foliage. Each plant can produce as many as 75 to 200 tubers by fall end.
Considering that they grow wild in this area, it should not be overly difficult to be successful with this plant as long as you give them some extra water. They bloom late summer and fall and are best harvested after first freeze.
Sunchokes are not usually available in local grocery stores.
I found these at Mountainview Market Co-op in Las Cruces, NM. The tubers are very similar to ginger and turmeric, which are also available in that store.
A word of warning before you start:
1. Absolutely DO NOT plant sunchokes in your regular flower or vegetable garden. They will take over and choke the life out of everything else in no time, and they’re near impossible to get rid of! Plant them somewhere they can spread without encroaching on your flower or vegetable garden..
2. Sunchokes contain inulin , an indigestible starch that gets broken down by beneficial gut bacteria into fructose. Some people complain of gas and bloating after eating sunchokes.