I can’t say what it is about weeds that l have always loved? Perhaps it is quite simply because they are misunderstood like some animal species. Whatever your opinion or view is on weeds, they are everywhere, and they are here to stay.

Twenty-five years ago, l used to forage for weeds to feed the enormous number of rabbits l had in my commercial breeding operation. Knowing about them made everything easier because it meant that l wouldn’t accidentally kill an animal by feeding the wrong weed.

Most weeds are harmless, not all. Of course, some are and can be deadly. The fact is that people don’t like weeds because they don’t belong where they usually appear or are out of place. Many a time, gardeners especially don’t want them because weeds tend to grow quicker and easier than many ornamental flowers.

Weeds have a way of surviving. They are ONLY considered weeds on the domestic level because, let’s be honest, when we are out walking in the countryside, how many people are bothered by the presence of weeds then?

There are advantages and disadvantages to having weeds in your gardens and yards. They do have a lot of benefits that many people tend to ignore, and this series will highlight that.

The Beauty of Weeds

Companion Plantings
Encouraging wildlife
Fertilising and enriching the soils
Providing and active Mulch/Soil protection
Attracting pollinators and good insects
Repelling pests
Food source for animals and humans
Serves as decoy crops
Great for wildlifing the garden
Soil conditioning


Armoracia rusticana

 “May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.”

Native American Proverb.

Horseradish is a vegetable, a perennial plant and a member of the brassica family. This root vegetable is better known for its wider use as both a spice and a condiment and a spicy condiment!

I grew up in Australia in the ’70s, and l had never eaten a full roasted dinner. The first time l did, l was in England and l was offered some mild horseradish sauce to adorn my lamb with, and it practically blew my head off my shoulders! Luckily l was hooked and not sunk and continued to use the sauce for many years afterwards.

I also grew horseradish for a few years, intending to make the sauce. I had to stop because l found l could no longer digest it, plus l no longer ate red meat.

Many people look at horseradish and don’t particularly see it as a vegetable but a wild weed. It grows freely on roadside verges here in the UK. It is considered invasive and has a highly long root system. I only grew it in a raised water barrel and not in the soil, as it can prove awkward to remove.

Whilst it can be grown direct from seed, the preferred method is to use parts of the root known as thongs.

You CAN eat horseradish raw or cooked or pickled for the hearty volcanic lot amongst you! The leaves are also edible, hot, but tasty and you can even stir fry them into a meal! However, I have found the best results from the younger leaves that aren’t so tough, and l have added them to stir fry and summer salads.

It is called horseradish, although its original name was mareradish which in itself was a mispronunciation of the German name for it, which was meerrettich which translated to sea radish. Eventually, it was just called horseradish.

There are a few benefits to having horseradish plants in your garden.

Culinary purposes from cooking to condiment

It’s a highly prolific grower, so it can produce a lot of roots and especially leaves when it is established, and you are harvesting every couple of weeks

it can make a horseradish tea which can then be used to spray onto your plants and ward off many pesty organisms

The leaves can be used as a green manure mulch in the winter months, or they can be composted

Horseradish can also be a helpful companion plant as it is excellent as a diversion planting.

I hope you enjoyed H is for Horseradish and I’ll see you again soon.

The Autistic Composter

Species Guide Directory

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

8 thoughts on “Horseradish

    1. Haha Di excellent story – some horseradish sauces are seriously lethal, l pay my respects to those who can produce a sauce that knocks your head off. My days are sampling these sauces are gone.

      Thanks for the share of the memory 🙂


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