A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

Just before we left for California last week, I discovered an exciting surprise in the garden: horseradish!  Even though I carefully and purposefully planted the horseradish there last fall, I wasn’t confident it was going to take off, so I was pretty thrilled to see it that it was actually growing this spring!

For the past number of years, my brother has been sharing pieces of horseradish root from his garden with me, but because I didn’t have a good permanent location to grow my own, I never replanted any portion of the root.  Last fall, as I started to plan for the addition of a new herb and pollinator garden, I finally had the perfect spot to grow my own!  

And so last September, when my brother gave me this:

A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

I was ready for action!

Most of what you see here was promptly turned into delicious, pungent, sinus-clearing homemade horseradish (SO GOOD!), but the top inch and a half or so just below the crown was reserved for planting in the garden.

A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

After planting the top of the root in the garden in September, I was careful to keep it watered and gave it a good side dressing of fresh compost, but much to my disappointment, it never showed any signs of growth last fall.  I’m not sure if my expectations of seeing the root take off in the fall were off or if the root had simply been out of the ground too long, but I had pretty much given up on it.  In fact, as I was covering the plant with mulch in preparation for the hard frost, one of the pieces was accidentally knocked out of the ground and I noticed there was a little bit of mold on the cut end of the root, so my expectations for horseradish success were quite low.  I stuck that piece back in the ground and carefully covered it anyway, if for no other reason than to mark the spot, and just figured that I’d have to try again in spring.

But then last week, there was this:

A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

And this:

A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

I dug into the mulch a little further and found a total of four little horseradish plants that are alive and growing! 

They are fascinating little spidery plants right now, with fringed edges in shades of purple, pink, white, and green, and I can’t wait for them to grow out and start bulking up the roots for future harvests!


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2 Responses to A Spring Surprise: Horseradish!

  1. Astra says:

    I have heard that horseradish will take over the garden, so I will be interested to hear your experiences with it.

    • Maria says:

      Yes, that can definitely happen! I plan to harvest most of the root each fall, and only leave a small portion of the plant to regrow for the next year. Hopefully that will help control it!

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