Mostly seen as ‘Old Fashioned’ the Horseradish plant is making a big comeback as a culinary herb. Its finds its way onto the table at Christmas, and is now more widely found in restaurants where its warming qualities are appreciated more and more. It is also being used as a flavouring in sausages, so the old fashioned herb now has a new lease of life.
Like most herbs, fresh is best, and this is an easy one to grow.
Horseradish plants or ‘Armoracia rusticana’ is a root vegetable that is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Growing Horseradish is not difficult and plants can be grown from tubers or roots. It can be grown from seed however they are difficult to obtain. Horseradish cream is used widely with Roast Beef. Claimed medicinal and therapeutic uses include as a poultice for infections, arthritis and pleurisy.
We remember digging horseradish on Sunday mornings, my grandmother grew it, sort of wild at the side of the compost pile. It thrived, she made a hot horseradish sauce to go with roast beef, at the time all of the kids hated it, my cousins refused to even pick it. Things change, we now like it.
Horseradish grows well from spring to early summer and is easy to grow, in fact it can tend to be a bit of a weed if not kept under control.
How to Grow Horseradish
The best time to plant Horseradish is in autumn or spring. Root cuttings or crowns are available for sale, or you can take your own cuttings. When planting choose a permanent position and use a root barrier or container to prevent unwanted spreading. As this is a deep rooted plant grown for the long taproot, a deep loamy soil is best to allow adequate root development.
- Horseradish is best planted in a humus rich soil. Don’t worry to much about soil or position.
- Root cuttings are simply planted in the garden at around 3cm deep. You can start them off in containers if you wish.
- If you get a section of root you can simply look for growing nodes and cut into 6 – 7 cm pieces.
- Keep the cutting moist but not wet until new growth appears.
- Leave for around 4 weeks after new growth commences before transplanting.
- Plants will reach around 1.m in height, however it is the fleshy tap root that is the part we are after.
- We suggest when growing this in the home garden at you consider sinking half of an old rubbish bin into the ground, with its bottom removed.
- Water regularly with a liquid seaweed fertiliser.
It is best to wait until the plant is two years old before harvesting.
- As the plant requires a cool soil to get the best flavour in the roots, the best tome to harvest is in autumn.
- Use a garden fork to work around the plant to avoid damaging the roots.
- You will find the main root and then dig around it to find the large roots.
- Look for roots that are around 2 – 3 kms (1 inch) in diameter.
- Was the roots, dry them and store them in a cool place or in a refrigerator until ready to use.
Horseradish is a garden thug, it will spread. We suggest sinking half of an old rubbish bin into the ground, with its bottom removed. Don’t worry to much about soil or position, because it will not. Simply plant it and away it goes. Dig as needed, its not something you will find for sale in the local supermarket.
- Botanical Name – Armoracia rusticana syn. A. lapathifolia
- Common Name – Horseradish Family – Brassicaceae
- Height – To around 1metre.
- Spread – Will spread by underground root system
- Growth rate – Medium to fast.
- Position – Part shade to sun.
- Soil – Moist humus rich
- Flowering Time – Summer
- Flowers – White
- Foliage – Mid green basal leaves.
- Frost tolerant – Yes.
- Drought tolerant – Medium.
You can buy Horseradish plants and seeds from the following suppliers
Medicinal, Teas and Kitchen Herbs. Edible plants, scented and ornamentals.
Wide range of perennial edibles and medicinals, berries, fruit and unusual food plants, by mail order.