MaryAnne Sannicandro's Blog
Just as the summer blooms are fading away, an easy way to revitalize your front entryway is to plant chrysanthemums, or mums, as they are commonly known. These plants come in many colors—reds, oranges, yellows, even green and purple. The nurseries are overflowing with mums in late summer and early autumn, so it’s very easy and inexpensive to pick some up. The hard part may be to choose the right colors—they are all so vibrant and eye-catching. Try coordinating the colors with the— trim of your house—they can make your doorways or shutters pop—or contrast them with your siding. Buy plants that are budded up, not in full bloom. That way they will last longer. Highlighting with these blossoms allows you to change colors each year, but if you want to keep the mums coming back, plant them directly in the ground—this allows the root system to grow and expand. Just don’t plant them too close together—they are mounding plants and need room to round out. It’s OK to use containers, too. Just don’t expect to see them in following year. Pinch off the dead blossoms with your fingers to encourage new growth. Mums are frost hardy, also, so you should have color in your gardens well into November. Happy Fall!
Growing Horseradish In The Home Garden Horseradish is a root vegetable that earned its name to set it apart from the ordinary garden radish used in salads and slaws. History also reports that horses are fond of the pungent greenery. In ancient Greece, the root was known as “wild radish” with the leaves and root prized as an antiseptic, diuretic and stimulant. Because of its exceptionally high vitamin C content, horseradish is a centuries-old cure for scurvy. Most folks think of horseradish as a spicy condiment, often served with beef, especially prime rib or as a compliment to seafood. The root of the horseradish, thinly sliced and pickled with herbs in vinegar, is a famous meat sauce in cultures around the world. Horseradish Cultivation Native to Europe, horseradish is a perennial herb, with huge, deep green to yellow-gold elongated leaves. The plant reaches a height of from two to four feet at maturity and does well in a sunny spot along a fence line. Horseradish is best planted in a corner in well-composted clay soil where it will receive lots of moisture. Horseradish needs one to two inches of water a week, so remember to water liberally during periods of drought. Horseradish grows well in United States Plant Hardiness Zones 3 through 7. Reserve this spot in the garden for horseradish only, as even the tiniest root left at harvest time will develop into a plant. Once planted, you will have an endless supply of horseradish both for personal use and to share with friends and family. Horseradish plants can be started from seeds, but the easiest way to establish horseradish in the garden is to purchase a couple of established plants online or from a local home and garden supply store. In early spring, turn the soil, breaking up all clumps. Add garden compost and aged herbivore manure (cow, horse, pig, sheep, chicken, or goat) and work well into the soil. Water well to saturate the soil. Plant horseradish after all danger of frost is past. Plant twelve to eighteen inches deep. Space plants one to two feet apart. In the spring, the delicate new leaves are a tasty addition to a salad or slaw or use a few springs of fresh leaf to flavor to a soup or stew. Plan to harvest your horseradish in the fall, before the first frost. Dig the roots and remove excess soil. Store in a root cellar in damp sand or a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Grate as needed. If you have an abundance of horseradish root, grind and pickle with apple cider vinegar, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a sprig of fresh thyme. Add honey or raw sugar to taste. Bring mixture to a mild boil and simmer until thicken and translucent. Pack in sterile hot glass jars and seal. Water bath for 15-minutes. Store for enjoyment during the winter. Homemade horseradish sauce is a worthy condiment to serve with a country ham.