|Hopefully this will become the feline maternity ward.|
I introduced the cat to the feline maternity ward the other night. She seemed to like it as she readily entered the box. She actually spent about an hour laying inside the box, pressing on the wool batts with her front paws, and purring loudly. I haven't seen her enter the box in the last few days, but at least she knows about the box and seems to like it.
I got to spend a little bit of time in the garden today. I planted some more shallots which I had harvested last fall then forgot where I had put them. If I plant enough of them there should be enough of them that survive the ducks. I also made some progress on the preparation of the recently expanded vegetable garden in the front yard. Now that the stumps are gone, the available space for garden in the front has doubled.
|A close up of a Jerusalem Artichoke tuber.|
I managed to find some Jerusalem Artichoke tubers on Craig's List the other day. I picked some up today while running a bee store errand. I read an article about them several years back and have been wanting to grow them. I was able to pick up a good sized bag of tubers this afternoon at a good price. The scientific name, Helianthus Tuberosus, identifies them as members of the sunflower family. Some people call them "Sunchokes". The name Jerusalem Artichoke is a corruption of Girasole Artichoke, a name they were given after they were introduced into Europe. Girasole is the Italian word for sunflower.
The Jerusalem Artichoke is native to North America and was harvested by the indians for food. I'm not sure where the natural range of the plant was, They have numerous yellow flowers on stalks that usually reach over six feet tall. The tubers are dug up after the first frost and can be eaten either raw or cooked. They are relatively pest free (like many native plants) and can be very productive. The biggest problems they pose to gardeners are finding a place to plant them where they don't shade other vegetable crops and keeping them from taking over the garden. Apparently it is difficult to harvest every last tuber so there are always some volunteer sunchokes popping up wherever they were planted the previous year. Their flavor supposedly resembles the flavor of artichokes while their texture is similar to water chestnuts. It will be an interesting experiment. As it turns out they can also be fed to chickens so there is yet another use if neither Linda or I care for their flavor. I also expect they will give my vegetable garden style points as my sweetie expects a certain amount of cuteness in vegetable gardens.