Guide to growing wasabi, planting, care, and harvesting
Let us discuss the topic of growing wasabi plants at home, indoors. We also cover wasabi plant care, harvesting process of wasabi. Wasabi is a plant which is the most difficult and hard one to grow. It will need humid and temperate climatic conditions and it takes two years to reach the stage of maturity. This is highly prone to disease when they are grown in large quantities. The best thing about growing wasabi is that it has many numbers of health benefits along with a flavor which is hot, fresh and sweet which cannot be matched. If you are ready for the challenge, it is possible to grow wasabi when you are creating the wild conditions in which wasabi will grow at its best. Growing wasabi using aquaponics is also possible as it provides with a water base which is rich in terms of nutrients.
Preparation for plantation of wasabi:
- Select an environment which is a humid and temperate climate. The origin of wasabi is Japan and it grows at its best when the climatic conditions are wet and warm with a temperature between 8°C and 20°C. Wasabi is well known for its attention to deal and will not be able to grow in the localities where the temperature increases or decreases on a daily basis.
- Wasabi will grow naturally in the areas which are wet and woody with a lot of moisture in the air and the soil which is well-drained.
- You will have to take into consideration the solution for temperature control. If you are residing in a locality which does not have the natural climatic conditions which are required for the growth of wasabi, you will be required to recreate the perfect conditions in a manual way. One of the best alternatives to do is by making use of a greenhouse which will trap the humidity and heat and lets you regulate the temperature. If you have decided to make use of a greenhouse, you will have to adjust the settings so that the temperature will be in between 8°C to 20°C.
- If you are residing in a locality where the growing conditions are somewhat close to what the wasabi requires naturally, you would be able to come out of this making use of a greenhouse. If you are residing in a locality where the climatic conditions are hot, make use of a sheet or tarp for providing shade to the planting bed so that it will not become too hot. If you are residing in a locality which has mild cold snaps, the plants have to be covered when the temperature becomes cold.
- Choose a spot which has good shade. Wasabi will not grow well when planted in direct sunlight, it requires a spot which is completely shaded. In the wild conditions, it will grow under the forest canopy, where just sufficient sunlight will be filtering across the leaves to provide wasabi with what it requires for flourishing. As a home gardener, you can try creating this environment. You can do this either by the plantation of wasabi under the trees or making use of a hand-fashioned canopy for providing shade to the growing bed.
- Growing wasabi indoors is also possible with a greenhouse. In a greenhouse, it is very much essential to ensure that the wasabi is getting a lot of shade. Wasabi has to be positioned under the plants which are tall or near to the windows which are shaded to ensure that it is not in direct sunlight.
- The soil has to be amended. You can make use of a mixture of compost and fertilizer which is organic and rich in the content of sulfur. The soil has to be tilled up to a depth of 11 inches and work on the compost of about 10 inches for the creation of soil which is healthy and rich.
- The soil has to be tested and the pH of the soil has to be adjusted until it is in between 6 and 7. This particular pH will create the best climatic conditions for wasabi. You will require a soil which is rich and organic with a perfect pH to provide the wasabi with the best survival options when you are setting it in a home.
- You will have to make sure that you are following the instructions on the label when you are going ahead with the application of fertilizer.
- Ensure that the soil is draining well. Wasabi is a vegetable which would love to be placed in the conditions which are moist. Make sure that it is not muddy and waterlogged. To check if the soil is draining sufficiently well, the area has to be watered in a good manner and the water will be soaked in. If it is slow in the absorption, you can start working on more amount of compost. If it is draining immediately, then it means that the soil is good for growing wasabi.
- Plantation of wasabi close to a natural pond or stream is always the best idea as the soil will be staying moist in a constant manner, but will also drain well in a natural manner.
- You can also consider planting wasabi close to a waterfall which will be continuously splashing on the plant for providing water.
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Plantation of wasabi:
- The seeds of wasabi have to be watered at the end of the autumn. Wasabi seeds are tough to be found at the nurseries present in your locality. So most of the people will consider ordering them online. At the end of the autumn, it would be the best time for ordering seeds. Wasabi requires winter for the establishment of perfect roots. When you get the seeds, make sure that you are maintaining them in moist conditions and always plan the plantation within 2 days after you receive the seeds.
- Now it’s time for the plantation of seeds. The night before the plantation, the seeds have to be placed in a small container or bowl and they have to be covered by making use of distilled water. The seeds have to be soaked for a complete night before you go ahead with the plantation. Soaking them will help the seed to get softened and makes it easier for the wasabi to undergo the process of germination. The seeds have to be sown at a distance of 1 to 2 inches from each other. After that, you will have to press them in a light manner into the soil.
Caring wasabi plants:
- The soil and the seedlings have to be maintained in the moist conditions. Wasabi is a plant which is half aquatic and should be maintained wet if you want it to flourish. On a daily basis, the soil and the seedlings which are sprouting have to be misted with water which is fresh and cool for the emulation of splashes from the natural water resources like waterfall or stream. If you let the wasabi to get dried, then it immediately starts wilting.
- A micro-irrigation system is the best alternative for misting. The plants have to be monitored for wilting with no sufficient water and rotting of roots which will be caused due to overwatering and you have to start adjusting your watering accordingly.
- As wasabi must be maintained wet, it is prone to mold and disease. If you are seeing the plant becoming diseases, like getting discolored or wilted, you will have to pull it out immediately for preventing it from getting spread to other plants. Make sure that you are not soaking the plants to the soil by making use of a watering can or hose as this would increase the chance of disease and rot.
- The planting beds have to be weeded. Make sure that you are weeding out the plants which are competing so that the roots of wasabi are having adequate space for growth. As the soil is always kept moist, there are chances for the weeds to grow quickly. Weeding on a daily basis or alternate days will make sure that the problem is under control.
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Harvesting procedure of wasabi:
- The plants have to be cared for at least 2 years before you harvest them. There will not be the development of a distinct flavor until the wasabi reaches the stage of maturity which would take up to 2 years. At this time, wasabi will grow up to a height of 2 feet with a width of 2 feet. It stops becoming taller and wider and will start using its energy to grow rhizome which looks like a carrot and also grows longer below the soil.
- The rhizomes which are matured have to be dug. These should be dug when they reach the stage of maturity and they are ready to consume when they are at a length of 8 inches. One rhizome has to be dug to check the height before the completion of the remaining harvest. Make use of a space which is long and slim or even a pitchfork and make sure that you are being careful not to cut the rhizomes when you are digging them out.
- Some of the plants have to be left in the ground for self-seeding. Wasabi which is left in the ground will start producing new seeds and will start dropping them in the soil and saves from the trouble of buying new seeds. You can leave many plants in the ground so that you will be having a fresh wasabi crop in the coming 2 years.
- When you see the sprouting of new plants, the seedlings have to be spaced at a distance of 12 inches from each other so that they will have an adequate amount of space for growth. If you are leaving them in clumps, most of them will undergo wilting and eventually die.
Using and storing wasabi:
- The rhizomes of wasabi have to be cleaned and its leaves have to be discarded. In order to enjoy the sharp and fresh flavor of wasabi, you will have to take as much as you require and the rest of the rhizome has to be left intact. The heat of the wasabi will disappear after some hours, so it is always best to take only the required quantity for one meal.
- You can store fresh wasabi in the refrigerator for one month or two months before it starts to become rot. If you wish to save the wasabi for later usage, it is always best to get it dried and grind it into a powder. This powder can be mixed with a little amount of water for the formation of wasabi paste.
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Facts about growing wasabi:
- Typically, the rhizome will reach to the height of 6 inches and 1 inch in diameter in approximately two years. The leaves of wasabi and its stems will tend to be hard but they can be broken easily.
- Consuming too much quantity of wasabi will be causing a painful feeling in your nose. This plant will grow in japan naturally. As the plant of wasabi is difficult to grow, real wasabi is generally expensive as it is rare. Most of the wasabi is a green paste which is naturally made from mustard, horseradish, and food coloring.
- Consuming too much amount of wasabi or frequently eating it will trigger gastritis even in those which are not currently in condition will lead to acidity. As wasabi is a pungent food, it would cause gastritis along with heartburn and indigestion.
- Both the horseradish and wasabi are derived from the roots of the plants which belong to the family of mustards and both of them are used as pungent condiments. The difference is that the wasabi comes with a green color which is distinct and horseradish will be off-white.
- One way for the storage of wasabi rhizomes is by wrap each rhizome individually by making use of a paper towel which is damp and then storing them in a bowl without covering and later in the refrigerator. Make sure that you are not using plastic as rhizomes require air circulation. The paper towels have to be kept damp and the rhizomes can be stored well for two weeks.
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