(from 20 Everyday Herbs – see below)
Horseradish is a prolific plant and should be positioned carefully in the garden. It will tolerate partial shade but prefers a sunny spot if possible. Choose a permanent place as horseradish will last many years.
Dig the ground deep and clear out any weeds, large stones and non-organic debris. The cleaner the soil, the bigger the roots will grow. More preparation will guarantee better crops.
The horseradish root likes a rich well-manured soil and not too heavy. All root crops struggle in heavy soils.
To inhibit rapid spreading, containers work well as they literally contain the plant.
Fill containers with organic compost and position in a sunny spot. Make sure the container is well-drained, and kept watered and weed-free.
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These cold-stored seeds must be planted in potting soil. Germination of this summer or fall planted seed is in the very early spring. By March the seedlings will have formed 2 sets of true leaves and its time to pot them up.
Horseradish is usually grown from root cuttings which you can buy from good garden suppliers. Plant the root in early spring or autumn. Check on the supplier’s growing recommendations, as size of root, variety and regions will have varying needs.
A neighbour or local gardener may be happy to donate a root or two to start you off. Plant as soon as possible after the roots have been lifted from the soil.
Plant the roots according to how big they are. The smaller the root the shallower it should be planted.
Try taking your own root cuttings in the autumn. Dig the roots up gently and use the largest one in the kitchen, then re-plant one or more of the side shoots.
Also, sections of root can be planted in the spring to produce new roots in the autumn. Horseradish does spread quickly though and care should be taken not to let it take over the whole garden. For container growing, choose a large well-drained container and fill with fresh compost before planting.
Horseradish can be grown from seed sown in spring. The seeds should be sown in a sunny patch and the ground must be cleaned of large stones and perennial weeds, and dug deeply before sowing to allow for root growth.
Again, the cleaner and richer the soil, the better chance you have of harvesting a good crop.
Thin out the plants when they are a couple of inches (5cm) high to allow space to grow. Keep weed-free and watered especially during dry periods.
Alternatively, sow seed in a large well-drained container. Always use fresh compost when planting containers. Old compost may have been drained of nutrients from previous plantings.
Once established, and with very little attention, the bed will become a permanent horseradish patch and will produce healthy roots for many years.
Dig up all the roots every autumn. Use the largest roots in the kitchen and re-plant the others. This method of cultivation keeps your horseradish patch producing roots regularly and also helps to control the rapid growth.
The young leaves can be used in salads and sandwiches. Take a few from each plant and allow to grow again before using more. The root is cleaned, grated and eaten raw, often mixed with vinegar and cream and served with a Sunday roast.
Horseradish root is said to be stronger tasting after the first frost, so if you can leave them in until then, you will get a better result.
P.S. This text is an extract from 20 Everyday Herbs
20 Everyday Herbs
A potted history of twenty everyday herbs, step by step growing instructions, storing ideas and even medicinal uses.
Basil … Bay … Celery … Chives … Coriander … Dill … Fennel … Garlic … Horseradish … Lavender … Lemon Balm … Lovage … Marigold … Mint … Nasturtium … Oregano … Parsley … Rosemary … Sage … Thyme.
’20 Everyday Herbs’ is packed full of everything you need to know about how to grow herbs for everyday use. A must-have!
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