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 that, if left untended, will grow like an invasive weed. It’s easy to grow. So, why not learn how to grow horseradish and give it a try!?
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. The 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 its bite and nose clearing characteristic is called isothiocyanates. It is a big word for a big root with a big bite. In our family, we judge the best Horseradish not only by its flavor but by its impact on the nasal passages.
There is only one variety of Horseradish…..that we know of.
Horseradish roots have been used for a variety of medical benefits. The most well-known of these is for the treatment for clearing nasal passages, coughs, and colds.
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.
Growing Horseradish is very easy. These plants tolerate almost any soil. 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.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.0. Ideal Soil pH for all Vegetables.
There are no major insect problems.
Horseradish is among the hardiest of perennials.
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 the 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 affect 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.