Thursday, 23 January 2014


It is almost impossible to buy good sticks of rhubarb in the shops yet it is perfectly easy to grow your own rhubarb. Here are the basic cultural requirements.
Rhubarb is often found growing by the compost heap and for good reason. It prefers a rich, deep, moisture retentive soil that doesn't dry out too badly in the summer. But it will grow in perfectly ordinary soil too. Wherever you plant make sure it is well dug over, and add a top dressing of sulphate of ammonia or growmore. Sites prone to winter waterlogging should be avoided.
You should allow not less than 4' between crowns. Plant so the 'eye' or bud of the crown is just level with the soil surface. It should be firmed in really well so that the soil really hugs the new crown. An open aspect is preferred but part shade is ok if necessary. Do not pull any sticks from your rhubarb the first year, even if it appears ready for harvesting. Allow it to build up it's strength and water well during dry periods.
Timperley Early is the best general garden variety and it can be forced too. Cover the emerging growths with a dustbin, from late January to enjoy really tender sticks a month later.
Victoria is a valuable late variety which can be garvested well into Summer.
Stockbridge Arrow is a newer introduction. It has characteristic arrow shaped leaves and yields heavily with sticks of good quality.
Cawood Delight is renowned for it's really red sticks, tender and sweet flavour. However it is a weak grower & only for the dedicated.

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