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How to Grow Horseradish Roots

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Surprisingly, not many of us grow Horseradish in our gardens. It is a very easy to grow root crop. Gardeners and botanists consider it a vegetable. Left untended, it grows like an invasive weed.

Native to Europe, Horseradish roots are very popular in the U.S., for spicing up foods and snacks. What would shrimp cocktail be without horseradish!?

Horseradish is a prolific perennial grower, and definitely an invasive plant. Horseradish roots are among 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. Fresh horseradish will be felt in your nasal and sinus passages.

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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.

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Varieties of Horseradish Roots:

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

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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.

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How to Grow Horseradish Roots:

Growing Horseradish is very easy. Horseradish tolerates 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.

Border edging are recommend to contain the roots. The edging should go down 8" - 10".

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Harvesting Horseradish

Any time after the plant has been killed by frost, it is time to harvest horseradish roots. 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. Leave some of the roots in the ground, to produce next years' crop.  Or, dig them all up and store the smaller roots for replanting in the spring.

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.

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Insects and Pests:

There are no major insect problems.

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Major disease problems do not normally occur.

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Horseradish is among the hardiest of perennials. It can be an invasive plant. We recommend you use border edging to contain Horseradish in the garden space allotted. 

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Recipes: May we suggest:

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More Information:

Garden Recipe Collection - find a recipe for all your garden grown veggies.

More on Horseradish Roots

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