Growing horseradish in your home garden is an easy task. It prefers rich soil, adequate moisture, full sun to partial shade and room to spread out in its garden bed, but even without these it often flourishes.
Horseradish enjoys the cold and needs time in the ground during the fall and winter to help develop and intesify its flavor.
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Horseradish is not usually grown from seed as the plants do not set seed in most regions. Most gardeners use root divisions from an already established plant in order to start a bed of horseradish.
In early spring, plant root cuttings in soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Make furrows six inches deep in the soil, and plant the divisions so that their tops are three inches below the soil surface. Typically, no fertilization is needed for horseradish, but some gardeners feel that organic garden fertilizer containing potassium is helpful.
A final and important note about planting horseradish: Do not plant in the same beds as the rest of your crop. If you do, it’s likely that it will spread and that you’ll never be able to get rid of it. Instead, give it its own bed or container or bury a plastic tub around it in the ground.
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Once you have carefully planted your horseradish root divisions, what’s next? In the case of horseradish, not much!
Once planted, horseradish grows with very little care. Keep the planting bed evenly moist, and watch the foliage jump! Consider fertilizing once a year with organic matter.
Harvesting horseradish roots usually takes place in the fall, right after the first frost of the season. However, some gardeners prefer to harvest their crop in the early spring, the time when the plant needs to be divided. Some also say that one year old plants have the best taste.
To harvest, use a spade to dig down and around the plant until you can gently lift it out of the ground. Cut off some of the side shoots and replant them for your next crop of horseradish, then use a brush to remove any soil from the roots.
Mulch the replanted horseradish with leaves or straw after harvest.
Fresh horseradish may be peeled and grated to eat fresh or be pickled.
It may also be frozen, though freezing whole roots is not recommended. Whole roots should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator. Once horseradish has been cut, it will lose flavor and start to dry out, so use it quickly unless you plan to keep it in vinegar to preserve it.
Horseradish seeds are usually sterile.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Horseradish. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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