Horseradish is a perennial root crop that requires very low maintenance. The horseradish root is most commonly used to add a zesty, hot flavor to a number of dishes. The horseradish root is a very good source of vitamin C. Horseradish tea can also be used as a nasal decongestant and as a fungicide on fruit and vegetable plants in the garden.
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Types of Horseradish
Horseradish comes in two main varieties: the classical type and the “bohemian” type. The classical type of horseradish has very wide leaves, up to 10 inches across, while the bohemian type has much narrower leaves. The horseradish that is most commonly found at the local nursery or the supermarket is the bohemian type.
Planting Horseradish Cuttings
Horseradish is usually not propagated from seed; and, instead, it is grown from root cuttings that are directly planted. Root cuttings can be purchased from local nurseries or mail order catalogs; otherwise, you can plant roots that you purchased from the grocery store.
Best Time to Plant Horseradish
Horseradish is a cool weather crop that thrives in locations with very cold winters. Horseradish performs best in climates that force the plant into dormancy every winter. When planting horseradish, you can plant the root cutting in the ground a few weeks before the last frost. As long as your soil is not too frozen to work with, then the horseradish root is ready to be planted.
How to Plant Horseradish in the Garden
Horseradish Soil Requirements
The horseradish plant should be planted in a location that has full sun exposure throughout the day. The soil (Buy Online) in which you plant your horseradish should hold moisture very well. If your soil is sandy or tends to dry out easily, you can add compost to the planting area, in order to help with moisture retention.
The soil pH should be anywhere from 6.0 to 7.0. The soil should also be loosened to a depth of 12 inches (30.5 cm) so that the roots can grow without obstruction. Once you are ready to plant your horseradish root, you should lay them in the soil at a 45-degree angle.
Horseradish Planting Depth
The root crown should be about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) below the soil line. If you are planting more than one plant, then you should space them 12 inches (30.5 cm) apart.
After you plant the horseradish, you should water them in deeply. For the next week or two, water the plants daily, until you see the first shoots emerge. While you are waiting for the horseradish shoots to emerge, weeds might become a problem. Pull the weeds, by hand, or add a layer of mulch to the area where the horseradish was planted.
Horseradish shoots are able to push through a thin layer of mulch, so do not be afraid of covering the area where the root was planted. Adding mulch early will also help maintain the moist growing conditions that horseradish prefers.
Caring for your horseradish plants once they are established is really a simple affair. After the first shoots emerge, you can add a balanced fertilizer (Buy Online) to the soil. Every spring, thereafter, you can apply the same amount of fertilizer.
For the most part, the plants will not need to be fertilized throughout the season. If you see any signs of the leaves yellowing or any other deficiencies, then immediately apply a mild liquid fertilizer, in order to remedy the problem.
Horseradish Pests and Diseases
Horseradish has very few pests and disease problems to worry about, so maintenance tends to be very minimal.
When Do You Harvest Horseradish?
Horseradish should be harvested one year after it was first planted. The best time of year to harvest your horseradish is when the leaves have died back, after the first frost in your area.
How to Harvest Horseradish
You should use a shovel to loosen the soil around the roots, so they can be easily extracted. Then, carefully remove the roots from the soil, while brushing off any dirt that might be sticking to them.
You can also take a few of the smaller side roots from the plant and place them back into the hole where the main root once occupied. By doing this, you will get a whole new plant next year, in the same location.
Storing Horseradish Root
Once you have your horseradish root harvested, wash it thoroughly. Once it’s dry, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.