Lifestyles

Story published: 01-09-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

How to grow your own horseradish

By Jeanne Cope
H&T Columnist/ Master Gardener

Easy to grow, horseradish is a hardy perennial plant grown for its pungent roots.

Plant horseradish in the fall and dig roots in spring, or plant in spring and harvest in the fall.

You can make your own horseradish sauce and spice up your life with this unique plant.

Horseradish can be grown directly in the garden or in a pot.

Because horseradish will take over, I recommend using a 20-gallon pot made of a synthetic material.

It may take three or four bags of potting soil to fill the pot. Select a sunny location and place the pot where it will remain.

For drainage, drill holes in the bottom and cover them with coffee filters. Add broken pot shards and gravel to cover about one inch of the bottom.

Dump the potting soil into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp and mix in about six shovels of well rotted compost. Fill the pot with the mixture.

Tamp the soil down and plant a root. A root needs a hole about twice the length of the root.

Some recommend leaning the full root at a 45-degree angle in the hole.

If using a cut off top, plant into a shallow hole to a depth up to the new green sprouting leaves. Add water to moisten the soil, and be prepared to add more soil as the soil packs down with watering.

To plant into the garden, know that horseradish is invasive and, left alone, will take over a raised bed or garden fairly fast.

Even when dug twice a year, any remaining piece of a root will resprout and continue growing new horseradish plants.

Horseradish prefers full sun. Horseradish plants will grow about 2-feet tall and 18-inches wide in a year, whether grown in the ground or in a large pot.

This is a lovely large plant that signals harvest time when leaves begin to turn brown and die back.

Bugs that bother cabbage, kale and crucibles also enjoy horseradish, so handpick green worms now and then. White butterflies signal munching worms.

To harvest horseradish, dig, wash and gently scrape with a knife. Thin skin does not need a potato peeler

Cut roots into small pieces, then, using a blender or food processor, chop and grind to the texture preferred.

To prevent oxidation, add organic apple cider vinegar while grinding the horseradish.

Funnel it into small jars or bottles, top with additional vinegar and the sauce is ready to use.

Sauce keeps for about 6 weeks in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen. Roots alone do not freeze well.

Ask a friend for a root, or purchase raw, organic horseradish at the supermarket.

If the top has been cut off, then lay it sideways in the hole and the root figures out the way up.

Call around to plant nurseries in early spring to locate a plant in your area.

Happy Gardening Everyone!

Jeanne Cope is a freelance garden writer and UT Lifetime Master Gardener. Visit her at jeannecope.com or by email at jeanne@jeannecope.com