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Vegetable Gardening

How to Grow Horseradish Roots

While many of us like it, Horseradish is a vegetable you don't see very often in the home garden. It is a root crop which, if left untended, will grow like a weed. Originally of European descent, Horseradish roots are very popular in the U.S., for spicing up foods and snacks. One of the reasons people don't grow it, is that you can only use so much.

Horseradish is a prolific perennial grower, an invasive plant. Horseradish roots are perhaps one of the most aggressive growers in the plant world, easily overcrowding even the hardiest of weeds! It is such an easy vegetable to grow, that in Europe some gardeners just stick them in a small hole, cover the hole and walk away. The next time they visit is with a spade to harvest the roots.

Did you know? The chemical that gives Horseradish it's bite and nose clearing characteristic, is called isothyocyanates. It is big word for a big root with a big bite. In our family, we judge the best Horseradish not only by it's flavor, but by it's impact on the nasal passages.


Medicinal value:


Horseradish roots have been used for a variety of medical benefits. The most well known of these being treatment for clearing nasal passages, coughs and colds.


Varieties of Horseradish Roots:

There is only one variety of Horseradish.....that we know of.


Sowing and Planting Horseradish:


Plant roots as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. Plant them four to six inches deep, and 1 1/2 to two feet apart. If you are planting multiple rows, give them two to three feet between the rows.


How to Grow Horseradish Roots:


Growing Horseradish is very easy. These plants tolerate almost any soil. A slightly acid soil is preferred. It will also grow in partial shade. You may want to select a location that is away from other garden areas, as Horseradish can become a weed, if it gets out of the bed you prepared for it.

Prepare the soil as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. While it will grow in most soils, like other plants, it will produce better soil rich in compost and manure. Work some soil amendments into the soil just before planting.

Keep the plants well weeded early in their life and supply ample water during dry periods. Add mulch for nutrients, and to retain water.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures

Ideal Soil pH


Harvesting Horseradish

Harvest horseradish roots in the fall, after the plant has been killed by frost. Roots that are green, and still supporting a live plant, have much less flavor.

Use a pitchfork to loosen the soil and lift the roots.

Wash and dry the roots. Use the bigger roots for making horseradish. Use the smaller roots, to replant for next year.

Store roots in the dark, or they will turn green. Place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or in a root cellar.


Insects and Pests:


There are no major insect problems.


Disease:


Major disease problems do not normally occur.

Plant Problems - Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems


Harvesting:


When planted in the spring, Horseradish can be harvested in the fall. If you don't want to worry about them spreading like a weed, dig up all the roots in the fall. Keep the large, fat roots for kitchen. Store the small, thin roots to plant next spring.

A second method is to leave horseradish in the bed year round, picking roots as you need them. During the process of picking them, thin them out, if they become too crowded. Using this method, they can crowd each other and effect the overall size of the roots, if they are not thinned out occasionally.

Horseradish tastes best if picked in the spring or fall. It is best used right away, or kept in the refrigerator or other cool place.


Hardiness:


Horseradish is among the hardiest of perennials.


Recipes: May we suggest:


More Information:

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