13 Apr 2011
I shouldn't be pleased with this photo because this plant should have been dug up and regrown from a new bare root. This is my horseradish in it's second year. I bought this as a teeny, tiny (and wonderfully verdant) plant last spring from the herb section of a well-known home and garden store. I plonked it into a corner of my herb bed thinking only of the lovely culinary treats to come in the autumn. Belatedly I read the label: "grows up to 60 cm". Oh. And it did. Putting the rest of the herbs in the shade. Whoops.
Now the smart thing would have been to lift the plant after first frosts, divide the root (replanting a few for this year) and pop the big root - which apparently looks like a parsnip - into a plastic bag in the fridge for food use. I can't quite remember what went wrong there, except that last year was Not Good in the garden and, sidetracked by a new job, by the winter my gardening willpower had turned into gardening won'tpower.
Best intentions to get on with the job in the spring were foiled by downpours on my days off. Strangely, digging in very wet mud in the cold and rain is not high on my list of favourite activities. By early March it was all too late. Little curls of green leaves were sprouting and after an experimental dig around it's base, I found out why the plant has a reputation of taking over the garden. Spreading roots.
Five weeks on and it's looking very lush, here it is behind the fennel - it's going to be another good year for horseradish! It is a very magnificent sight when fully grown but I had planned to move the herb bed to the other end of the veg patch and grow sweet corn in the space left behind. Time for a rethink? I'm pottering around today in the garden, which is the best place I know of to reformulate my plans.