Horseradish

I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat roast beef or make seafood cocktail without horseradish. So I grow lots. The Egyptians knew about horseradish as far back as 1500 B.C. Early Greeks used it as a rub for low back pain and an aphrodisiac. Jews still use it during Passover seders as one of the bitter herbs. Some used horseradish syrup as an expectorant cough medicine; others were convinced it cured everything from rheumatism to tuberculosis. South Americans rub it on the forehead to cure headaches. Before being named "horseradish," the plant was known as "redcole" in England and as "stingnose" in some parts of the U.S. Horseradish is a member of the mustard family (sharing lineage with its gentler cousins, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and the common radish) and is cultivated for its thick, fleshy white roots. The bite and aroma of the horseradish root are almost absent until it is grated or ground. The "hotness" from horseradish comes from isothiocyanate, a volatile compound that, when oxidized by air and saliva, generates the "heat" that some people claim clears out their sinuses. The most important fact to remember when growing horseradish is that it need deep fertile soil, so that its roots can descend 1 foot or more. It likes moist ,but well drained soil with a pH of 5.0 to 7.5 (neutral or slightly acid). If sun is scarce it can take a little shade. Plant in the spring (the earlier the better), adding lots of compost to the hole. Go easy on nitrogen-you want more roots than leaves. Set the crowns at least 12 inches apart with their small end down and the top about 2 or 3 inches below the surface, and then cover. Horseradish is a prolific perennial grower. Horseradish is perhaps one of the most aggressive growers in the plant world, easily overcrowding even the hardiest of weeds. I have mine in a cinder block raised bed with a plastic barrier sunk 18 inches down to keep it from spreading. Keep the plants well weeded early in their life and supply ample water during dry periods. Add mulch for nutrients and to retain water. Adequate moisture will prevent your roots from becoming woody. Feed the plant a little compost throughout the growing season by occasionally side dressing. I also use a foliar spray of fish emulsion and liquid kelp. Horseradish grows best in areas where it gets cold in the winter. Cold weather also improves the flavor of horseradish by signaling the plant to store starch. So wait until a few frosts have hit before you start to dig the roots. When you do harvest, save the big pieces for eating and replant the small ones. Peel and grind in a blender or food processor with vinegar and salt to make horseradish sauce. Watch out, the fumes will be strong! We always grind outside. Store in a sterilized canning jar in the refrigerator. Or keep a few roots in a bucket of sand in a damp root cellar.

You can refrigerate in a plastic bag and peel just before using. Freeze grated horseradish in airtight containers for several months. You can even leave it underground all through the winter. If your ground doesn’t freeze solid (or if you mulch well), you can dig pieces as needed until the plant starts to grow again in spring. Pay attention to that first growth: as soon as you see it sprout, harvest all the roots you’ll need that season. The roots become watery and loose their taste while the plant is actively growing. Most people associate only the roots with the hot flavor, but the smaller, more tender leaves are a nice addition to salads, sauces, and are useful as a seasoning herb. The chopped leaves are subtler in flavor and, when used sparingly, add a nice background nip to vegetable.

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The major causes of poor germination are planting too deeply and uneven planting depth. The appropriate planting depth is two times the seed's diameter. Seed germinating is dependent on water uptake, and the final soil preparations carried out in the spring can slow down or speed up the process. Lumpy soil will cause uneven germination because seeds will make poor contact with the soil and absorb the water at different rates. A smooth, fine seedbed ensures that all seeds come into closecontact with soil and its moisture. This is particularly important for fine seeds.

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Slugs - Save orange halves from juice squeezing, place in affected areas - remove slugs each morning from underneath.

Organic Repellent - broccoli flourishes in the vicinity of herb clumps of chives, dill, parsley or sage, as herbs repel harmful pests.

Dogs - Protect your evergreens by planting Calendula (Nature’s dog repellent) near your shrubs.

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Herbs

Selfheal

take cuttings or divide plants in spring, and plant out 8 inches apart as ground cover in moist shad or full sun. In fertile soils plants are much larger than normal and may be invasive; growing in turf helps restrain unnatural growth Also called heal-all, woundwort and carpenter’s herb.

Lungwort

divide in autumn or after flowering, and plant in light soils, not too dry, in shade or semi-shade. Lift, divide and replant ever4-5 years. Also called maple lugwort,spotted dog, and Jerusalem cowslip.

Weld

sow seeds where plants are to flower, in late summer in well drained, fertile soil with a little lime. Seedlings appear in spring and should

be thinned to 18 inches apart. Also called dyers rocket.

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Sulfur - Finely-ground sulfur can be used as either a dust or a spray. It can be used to control spider mites but may cause a chemical "burn" on tender foliage if the air temperature is 90°F or higher. Sulfur also may cause an unpleasant taste if used on vegetables shortly before harvest.

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Brandie

“When all the chores are done, the avid gardener will invent some new ones.”

 

 

 

 

 
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