Worms in Jerusalem Artichokes

This was my 3rd year of raising Jerusalem Artichokes. I keep them in a raised bed to help keep them from spreading across the garden. This year things got busy and I did not harvest them until after the freeze. I was surprised to find worms in them. The bed was next to a Brussels sprout patch that I had cabbage worm trouble with. Do you think the cabbage worms just moved beds to over winter? Should I move the Jerusalem Artichokes to a different location this Spring? Stoked that you are now selling seeds!

Katie Gilbert
Milo, Iowa

No, cabbage worms do not go into the soil. They only eat the leaves of plants, usually cabbage family plants such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower (and, of course, cabbage). I’m thinking that your worms are wire worms which infest many root crops, including Jerusalem artichokes. These can be hard to get rid of in a perennial crop such as Jerusalem artichokes. What I’d do is to dig all the chokes in that bed and sift the soil for the tiny ones that will grow later. Then early this spring I’d till that bed well, water it, and cover with black plastic to heat the soil and kill the remaining wire worms. I would use none of the chokes for seed as they may harbor the pests. The wire worm is the larva of the click beetle which can fly. Usually wire worms are drawn to pastures and nearby clover roots but, as you’ve found, they can and do sometimes infest root crops. After heating your bed for several weeks (the longer the better), you can remove the plastic and till the bed well. This helps kill any remaining wire worms. Cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are said to be distasteful to wire worms, so you might try planting these in your re-worked bed. I’d skip planting chokes for a couple of years as the life cycle of the click beetle/wire worm can run upwards onto 5 years. You want to starve them out. Permanently. I’ve had good luck mixing wood ashes in the rows where my root crops such as turnips and potatoes are planted then watering with beneficial nematodes to establish a population. You might try it. The best of luck!

We’re having a lot of fun packing seeds for folks and reading their letters. — Jackie

Links for canning supplies

Thought you might find this website useful. Also in reading your blog or the magazine, you mentioned a canner site, now I can not find it. I am needing a gasket for my old canner. This site has clear jel.

Carol Lay
Salem, Missouri

Here is a link to Ace Hardware’s site. They carry most pressure canner replacement gaskets and many other parts. http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=17822756. Thanks for the link to Canning Supply. Yes, they are a good company and carry many useful things for us canners. — Jackie


  1. Amazon has a large variety of canner gaskets and parts. They had the best prices when shippig was figured when I got the pieces for my wife’s canner


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