Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Harvest Monday for February 21st, 2011

The harvest for this report is:

Horseradish - 2 1/2 pounds
Broccoli - 9 ounces

With the last few days providing warmer weather, I just had to get out and dig in the soil. I decided the time was right for harvesting my horseradish, so that would be my task. I ended up with a nice cluster of fresh horseradish root and also gained knowledge of the plant's growing habits.

The horseradish crowns were beginning to turn green so it was time to harvest. I didn't want them to get too far along before I dug them up, so today was the chosen day!

In their shape, the horseradish crowns have an appearance similar to carrots. I was going to dig alongside the cluster of plants with a garden spade to gain easier access to the roots. With the first shovel penetration, I immediately sensed that I had just cut through a root. I thought, "If these are vertically formed like carrots, how could I have done that?"  I would soon see.

While they have crowns suggesting that they are probably carrot-like in shape, that really is a deception. They actually only have a top stub similar to the crown of a carrot. After that, the growth is all horizontal and the length of that growth is surprising.

A large root of the cluster in the previous pic had its root shoot out sideways and go under a concrete slab under the stairway. That one snapped off quickly, even though I had put the tension straight in the direction of the growth pattern of the root and not at an angle. When it snapped, it was a clean break.

A smaller root from another crown went the other direction under the fence. It was holding on tight! Notice how evenly balanced the diameter of the root is along the length. It almost looks as if I were holding a rusty metal rod.

After some careful coaxing I was able to retrieve most of that particular root. Horseradish has quite an impressive horizontal spread. Much more than I ever thought it would be.

The large root of the cluster was substantial. The roots don't go very deep at all before they begin to run horizontally. I will re-plant the crowns from these in one of my 1/2 barrel containers. That way, the roots can run throughout the soil within the container, but when I harvest the horseradish, I will be able to get ALL of the root, not just most of it. I think it should be a very effective method of growing horseradish for harvesting.

The horseradish harvest is complete for 2011! This will make a nice batch of fresh horseradish sauce and even some cocktail sauce, enough to last until the next harvest about a year from now.

The horseradish weighed in at 2  1/2 pounds!

The second vegetable for my Harvest Monday is broccoli. Although small, the florets are a welcome sight to see. The week of warm weather has allowed the plants to produce nice florets even though the plants have been through extreme weather. That is one of the reasons that I plant cool weather crops in late summer/early fall. While I may not harvest until spring, the whole time the roots are growing and getting stronger for a burst of growth when warm weather comes. That way, I don't have to wait for new plants to root and grow to sufficient size for an early spring harvest. Even some of my plants that appeared to be dead have sprung to life and will produce in the coming weeks before they all are removed.

Well, I did say they were small...

The plants are definitely weather-worn, but they are producing rapid new growth in the warm temperatures.

Some of the plants don't look like they were bothered at all by the sustained cold temperatures and snows.

Others are laying on their sides but nevertheless producing florets! Even new growth is springing up from the base of this plant.

My wife helps me with the harvesting. See how some of the plants look from the sustained cold weather? Apparently the roots don't feel the way the tops look.

The end result is 9 ounces of fresh broccoli for Harvest Monday!

After seeing the growth of the broccoli and the dryness of the soil, I got spring fever. I put a three fingered pinch of dried blood (12-0-0) aound each plant in the garden, healthy or not. Then the next day I went and reconnected the piping to my well, primed it, and watered the garden thoroughly, once in the morning and again in the evening. I am so thankful for my new well pump with pressure tank and switches and the globe valve for the hoses.

Here are some random pics showing the conditions of the plants after fertilizing and watering:

The two rows of collard greens in the left of the pic will produce a nice harvest before the spring crops go in.

I thank you for once more visiting my blog, and hope that you found it not only interesting, but inspirational for starting or continuing your own vegetable gardening efforts.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK


  1. That's an impressive horseradish root! I grew horseradish in a large container last year and it was not easy to harvest the roots without breaking them. I bet it's challenge digging them out of the ground! That is amazing so many of your plants survived through the intense winter weather! Your garden looks great already!

  2. Wow, I had no idea that horseradish spread that much. I was planning to get some this year. Maybe I should grow it in a large container.

    I bet that broccoli was very tasty!!

  3. Two and a half pounds of Horseradish must pack a fair old punch! Enough for about a whole side of beef, I reckon. Not being a fan of Horseradish, I'd prefer the broccoli...
    I hope your plants recover well as the weather warms up.

  4. Humm, we don't use horseradish either but I helped make some with a friend when I was a kid, very strong stuff and we ground it by hand.
    The broccoli looks good too. I was so impressed with my fall cauliflower this year that I definitely intend to do more next year.

  5. A Kitchen Garden in Kihei Maui, the roots are rather easy to snap in two. All while I was digging them out of the ground I was thinking that next time they will be in a large container! If we had a normal winter as in the past 20 years, I would have harvested 10 pounds of broccoli by now.

    Robin, When I put mine in the 1/2 barrel, I plan on harvesting it by simply dumping out the soil when it's ready and picking up the roots. That HAS to be the best way. This way sure wasn't.

    Mark Willis and becky3086, the broccoli is really growing well now. We have another week of mid 50's and 60's coming up, so there should be some nice broccoli out there.

    As far as the horseradish goes, I like it plain, but I'm also going to make some cocktail sauce by cooking down some canned tomato sauce from the garden in my slow cooker and then mixing in some horseradish. I love it with seafood. Heinz cocktail sauce and others use horseradish in their recipes. You can see the grated pieces in the sauce. I don't use it to make it HOT, I use it for flavor. I don't care for hot spicy dishes.

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your comments.
    Veggie PAK

  6. I've always wondered why people consider horseradish invasive. Now I know. I bet it spreads. A half barrel really does seem like a good way to go. Maybe I'll eventually put one in that way. I do love horseradish.

  7. Daphne, I have some volunteers that I'll be relocating into the 1/2 barrel! My plant grew for two years to get to this size. I really recommend the barrel for it. In the hard winter, you can bring it into a shed or garage to protect it from freezing solid while exposed in a large container. But when it comes time to harvest, just dump it out!

    Thanks for visiting!
    Veggie PAK

  8. Awesome job on your horseradish! We have been thinking of growing it, and will probably put it in next year. My hubby just loves the stuff. It's good for what ails you, as Grandma would say.

  9. Horseradish! Now that's something I didn't think of growing! It looks great, and I love the itty bitty broccoli.

  10. Dirt Lover, Thanks! I will be planting it in the 1/2 barrels this time so that I can get all of the root by just dumping the barrel when it's time. I lost a lot under the slab and the fence.

    Kay, Yeah, horseradish is a different type of vegetable. But I really like the flavor it gives whatever you put it on. I picked the broccoli that size in hopes of stirring up growth, and it worked. I have some nice florets out there for this week's picking.

    I appreciate you both visiting my blog and sharing comments. My intent is to share my knowledge and hopefully inspire someone to try vegetable gardening, or to increase their cultivated areas.

    Have a great gardening day!
    Veggie PAK