Horseradish

Horseradish

Horseradish is a tough, cold-resistant perennial plant that does best where there is a proper winter, for some reason. There are half a dozen plants that I would class as easy to grow, rugged, and seems to thrive in any conditions, really. There are two commonly available horseradish varieties: the regular horseradish – broad, curly leaves, and Bohemian, which has smaller, narrower, smoother leaves. It is easy to figure out the two types. It likes full sunlight but is okay with some shade too. One point to note – it doesn’t do too well in constantly soggy ground.

horseradish

Sowing Horseradish

Grow horseradish from plants or root cuttings sown in spring or autumn. Roots of this plant are often available in farm shops dotted around the countryside, or take a look online if you need some. Cut off the top third to half of the root to use in your cooking and save the bottom part for planting. Loosen up the earth to a depth of 12 inches (30 cm) and add a scoop of fertiliser. Plant the rooted cutting at 45 degrees, with the highest point of the cutting a couple of inches below the ground. 

Just one plant is usually sufficient for a family. If, on the other hand, you are a culinary magician in the kitchen and need more than one plant, plant them 30 inches (75cm) apart to give them the room they need.

Growing Horseradish

Plant in late winter for harvest this year or in the autumn for gathering and using next year. Water them regularly. 

This plant can go berserk if left unchecked, especially if you chop up the roots when digging some up. It’s a bit like bindweed, i.e., leave a bit of the root in the ground, and you will get another plant. If you are concerned about horseradish taking over your veg plot (which it could do), perhaps planting the root in a container might be a better option for you. You will need a large container, around 30 inches (75 cm) in-depth, for the roots to make a home. Plant the roots as if you were planting them in the ground. Container horseradish plants require more constant watering and regular care – so you need to weigh up the options.

Harvesting Horseradish

Cut off areas of the root for use as you need them after the leaves are about 30 inches long (the roots will be quite a few inches apart at this point). Horseradish develops best in the autumn, so try and delay collecting until the frost kills off the leaves (that’s the best time). Collect all roots before the ground freezes over, or new plants will spring up next year. You can store grated horseradish in a jar that will keep in the refrigerator for quite a long while. If you want to freeze it, mix the grated root with water and vinegar and freeze it. Also, you can wrap the whole root in damp sawdust and store it for ten months.

When you come to use it, be careful. It is very potent and can irritate your eyes and nose. We actually prepare ours outside.

Common Problems

There aren’t many diseases that bother this tough plant, but there are some that attack the leaves, including aphids, beet leafhopper, diamondback moth, bugs, etc. The aphids can be washed off. Also, the most common problem gardeners have with horseradish is not how they grow it but how they keep it from growing where they don’t want it. To control its spread, remove the entire root, including the side roots, when you dig it up from the ground. Then replant only as many roots as you want for plants for the next season. Whatever you do, don’t even think about rotavating the soil that contains horseradish roots and especially do not put the roots in your compost pile because you risk spreading the plant throughout your whole garden.

Visit Simply Recipes for a great way to make horseradish sauce

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06/23/2021 | Herbs | 0 Comments

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