If you think; ” a new broom sweeps clean,” is a refreshing adage, you have no idea of how the concept of getting to the root of my garden’s suffocation and plague is rejuvenating. After all, a new broom is only sweeping away some mildly irritating dust mites and dust bunnies revealing a clean floor but digging out pernicious roots has all the promise of new growth.
This Spring, I decided it was time to eradicate the horseradish which was asphyxiating my garden once and for all. After trying to remove all the roots some ten years ago, my front yard, once again, was taken over by this delicious, beautiful but stubborn plant. By sheer size and root system, horseradish, overcomes everything thing else in the garden. Traditionally, just before Seder my guests and I go out into the front yard and dig up a root for the Seder plate and grate the rest in a fit of teary eyes.[see blog 2010/10/22, " Horseradish of Pleasure and Plague"] This year, that time came early along with 2 disposal bins and 14 cubic yards of dark and fluffy triple mix soil. The plan was to dig the whole garden to below the horseradish roots, dump it in the bins and replace it with new fertile soil.To accomplish this we had to dig deep. How deep? We were still searching for the origins of one root when we had already dug 45 inches deep. The horseradish roots in a complete takeover plan, grow down, sideways and criss-crossed. The only part of the garden that the roots didn’t penetrate was where there was a layer of sand. Like the Jews wandering in the Sinai during the Exodus, it is impossible to put down roots in the sand.
After the old roots and soil are disposed of my garden will be filled with new loam and the fecundity it harbors. Sometimes to effect change you need to dig deep and find the things that are holding you back from growing. How deep? You will know when you are once again filled with the enthusiasm and joy of life. This Spring, my garden will be filled with new soil and be awake with new possibilities. As I plant my seeds, seedlings, and plants, I will be grateful for my own rejuvenation.
Horseradish and Beets; I used this beautiful vegetable condiment as an inspiration for a Spring buffet dinner of herring, smoked fish, hard boiled eggs, greenhouse tomatoes with parsley, and Hungarian cucumber salad
Bake washed unpeeled red and yellow beets in a 375 f. oven until a knife pierces them easily. Let cool and then peel. Wash and peel a horseradish root. Grate the red and yellow beets separately. Grate the horseradish root adding cider vinegar to moisten and keep the root from turning brown, also adding a little sugar as well. Combine the beets keeping the colors separated and add the horseradish in a half and half proportion. If the horseradish is very hot you may want to decrease the amount of horseradish depending on your audience.
Hungarian cucumber salad [Uborkasalata]
Nothing says Spring like this refreshing salad.
Peel 2 English cucumbers and slice very thinly on a mandolin. Mix the cucumber with 1 1/2 tsps. of salt and let drain in a colander in the sink for 1 hour. Make a dressing of 6tbs. white or cider vinegar, 3 tbs. water, 3 tps. sugar, a grinding of black pepper, and a 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika. When the cucumbers have drained for an hour, squeeze them gently to extract the excess juice. In a serving bowl mix the cucumbers with the dressing and top with a sprinkling of additional sweet paprika