The Q&A Archives: Horseradish Roots Hollow and Woody

Question: I just harvested my horseradish. Several older roots were hollow, and a couple others were tough and stringy. The horseradish was planted 6 years ago in a confined box of peat/sand mix. I harvest about a third of the box annually and it produces 12-14 pints of the best ground horseradish in the world! Could I have a disease problem? Will the roots produce indefinitely in a confined space if harvested on a regular basis?

Answer: Although horseradish is a perennial plant, many gardeners treat it as an annual and plant it fresh each year. In theory, the bed will continue producing indefinitely. However, older plants usually yield progressively smaller and tougher roots each year. It sounds like you have been fortunate to have harvested quality roots for 6 years!<br><br>One way to prolong your bed without having to purchase new roots each year is to harvest pencil-sized roots and save them as planting stock for next year. Store these roots in a cool, dark place that won't be subject to freezing, and replant next spring. That way, you can amend your soil each year, adding lots of compost and other organic matter to ensure a rich, crumbly bed.<br><br>Another cause for tough or hollow roots is overfertilization with nitrogen; horseradish is also prone to a number of root rot diseases.

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