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Gardener’s almanac (Nov. 23)

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, at 2:52 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at 7:13 a.m.

Warming up with horseradish — Close on the heels of my love for garlic is that for horseradish. While we (should have) planted garlic in October, we harvest horseradish usually in November or December, once a hard freeze has killed the foliage. “The large roots can be harvested, while smaller, pencil-sized roots can be cut in 6- to-8-inch-long sections as ‘seed’ or ‘sets’ for next year’s crop which are then immediately re-planted,” Ward Upham of K-State writes in this week’s Horticulture 2013 newsletter.

“Another option is to leave the horseradish in the ground and dig as needed. If you choose the latter option, be sure to heavily mulch the area so that the ground doesn’t freeze.

“To use horseradish, peel the large, fleshy roots and cut into sections. Use a blender or food processor to chop the roots along with a small amount of water and a couple of ice cubes. Vinegar or lemon juice is added to stop the process that produces the ‘bite’ of horseradish. Add immediately after blending for a mild flavor or wait up to three minutes to give the horseradish more kick. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice per cup of horseradish sauce along with ½ teaspoon of salt for flavor. Horseradish has an extremely strong odor and so you may wish to open the blender or food processor outdoors and to keep your face away from the container when opening. Store ground horseradish in a tightly sealed jar in a refrigerator until ready for use.”

For those of us not growing horseradish, the herb society usually has jars of it for sale at Herb Day. Only half a year away!

Garden events

Illuminations — Botanica will be lighted up for the holidays starting Friday. The holiday Illuminations event will then be nightly through Dec. 31 (except for Christmas Eve and Christmas). Hours will be 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $7 ($6 for Botanica members) and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door, in advance at QuikTrip or Botanica or online at botanica.org.

Illuminations VIP party — Botanica will have an Illuminations VIP party at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6. The cost is $40, or $30 for members, and includes tasting tables, cocktails and entertainment. Reservations are due by Dec. 2 by calling Kathy Osler at 316-264-0448, ext. 107, or e-mailing kosler@botanica.org.

Museum-store shopping day — You can shop at the gift shops for a discount at Exploration Place, Botanica, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown Museum and Wichita Art Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Members get 20 percent off purchases, and non-members 10 percent off. No admission is charged to shop.

Luminary Walk — Dyck Arboretum of the Plains will have its Luminary Walk on Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 6 and 7. The walk features a half-mile trail lined with 900 candles in jars, and Christmas lights on some structures and trees. “The Nutcracker” is the theme, and there will be life-size nutcrackers and musical entertainment each night. Bonfires will give people a place to warm up and have roasted marshmallows and s’mores, which are included in admission, as are hot almond tea and cookies indoors.

Luminary Walk hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for students, and $2 for children ages 3 to 15. Children under 3 years are admitted for free. The arboretum gift shop will include the work of local artisans from 3 to 8 p.m.

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