Learning to garden (13) – The Horseradish Experience

I like strong tasting foods such as garlic, chilies and horseradish.  We’ve achieved a vague kind of self-sufficiency in garlic over the past few years and produced the occasional chili, so when I saw a “horseradish bone” in Waitrose for £2.99 (I think), it seemed like something I wanted to plant.  Thus in April the bone was pushed into the edge of the vegetable plot.  For a couple of months, nothing happened, then some leaves appeared, by late September these were 2 feet tall and it seemed the right time to harvest.  There was a central root that looked like a failed parsnip and several thinner ones going off in all directions.  I thought I had dug them all out.

The parsnip lookalike was grated, put on the dinner table and after a few polite comments it was passed over in favor of Tabasco sauce.

When I came to dig in organic matter, I found some lingering roots.  One of these had reached the chalk two feet below the surface and continued going, both chalk and root can be seen in the photo of the two foot deep hole:

I put a tablespoon of salt on the remaining root and filled in the hole.  Some more of it has disappeared under an adjoining path, I fear that I have not seen the last of it.  Half an hour of Googling suggests that horseradish is invasive and should be grown in a pot or bucket to contain the roots.  Horseradish roots seem to be refereed to as “thongs” for no obvious reason and I am reluctant be seen in the garden with one.

We’ve lived in this house for more than 20 years and until recently neglected the garden.  Japanese anemones are persistent in the front, I liked them until I found them displacing flints in the dividing walls, so they too may be encouraged to go.  My wife took up a newspaper offer or free aliums, they looked nice the first year, but since then they have been bent on world supremacy.  During the years of squalor, I thought that any nice looking plant that blocked the view from the window as a minor miracle but I am beginning to realize that poor choices result in deep holes and bricklaying.

The lesson seems to be Google before planting.


About SolarBucket

I trained as a mechanical engineer in the 1970's and then spent most of the following 25 years doing sums and software for Oil and Gas Exploration. Current interests are the study of wind and solar resources.
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