This fall we were offered some horseradish crowns suitable for planting from a local gardener. Needless to say, we took him up on his offer and were able to get about two dozen crowns. Crowns are the plant tops after the main root is removed at harvest. Horseradish is a Zone 3 hardy perennial that can be planted in late fall or early spring. We prefer to plant these hardy perennials in the fall. Come spring thaw, the soils here in Potter County, Pennsylvania are quite soft and wet. And as a result, it is usually late May or early June before the gardens can be worked. So, fall planting gives us a head start.
The first task in planting horseradish was to choose a site. Since horseradish is a perennial, we didn’t put it in the main vegetable garden since that area gets tilled every year. Instead, we selected the little garden on the bank by the spring house. To prepare the site, we loosen the soil with a digging fork to prepare the soil for planting. This garden measures 5′ foot by 16′ to provide a generous spacing of 18-24 inches between plants. To plant horseradish crowns, we dug a hole for each crown as deep as our shovel and then loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole with the digging folk. After this, we refilled the hole with the loosen soil mixed with some compost. At this point, we removed the large stones and broke-up the soil clumps to provide a nice deep planting bed for the crowns. The crowns were then placed at the soil surface with the root sections anlged downward into the soil.
We raked some of the loose, fine soil over the roots and packed them firm. With this done, we applied dry fertilizer (Fertrell Super N) on the soil surface followed by a soil drench with a liquid fish fertilizer mixture around each plant. The last step to complete our new horseradish patch was to cover it with a warming layer of mulched hay. We plan to dig the horseradish up to harvest the roots and replant the crowns at the end of each growing season. Its always been said that “you can dig horseradish in any month with an ‘R’ in it”.
Shown below are photos of the site preparation.