Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Rhubarb Rhubarb

At the back end of last year, I bought a rhubarb crown - Stockbridge Arrow. Our local nursery was closing down so I got it for half price. I decided that I'd keep it in it's pot and overwinter it in the greenhouse before planting it out at the allotment. I don't have any rhubarb at the allotment, but I'd had a crown in a container which did nothing at all last year so I thought it was dead. During one of my garden clean ups in autumn, I tipped it out of it's container in to an old compost bag which had been filled with spent compost ready to take to the compost bin at the allotment. It was put out of sight in the garden and forgotten about. When tidying the garden last week, I noticed some leaves popping out of the top of the compost bag and on investigating, I discovered that the rhubarb was trying to grow. I'm all for giving second chances, so the crown has been potted up until I can get it in to the ground. You can see how spindly it is compared to the crown I bought last autumn, but it might get stronger with a mulch of organic matter and a bit of tlc, time will tell. I'm hoping to get both crowns, along with my gooseberry bush and blackcurrant bush put in to the prepared bed at the allotment some time this week.

I'm hoping to get some new strawberry plants in the next week or two as many of my existing plants didn't make it through winter. Actually, they were quite weak specimens when I planted them out and never really got established. Strawberries are one of my favourite things to grow at the allotment, so I don't want to be without. I shall get a couple of varieties which ripen at different times to extend the cropping season.

Most of the seeds I sowed have germinated now, I really need to get some more things on the go. I love this time of year when everything's so busy and the garden is springing back to life. The daffodils are all blooming now, they're putting on quite a show, and some of the tulips are waiting to open. Perennials can be seen pushing their way through the soil in the border, in fact, some are quite a mass of foliage. Buds are appearing on the trees, though the lilac is late this year, it's usually covered in flowers at this time of year. I'm hoping that I have a good cherry harvest this year, though there's no blossom on the tree yet. I think everything is a few weeks behind at the moment, but hopefully, they'll all catch up.



46 comments:

  1. Oh there'll be crumble on the menu soon Jo :) Amazing how plants can surprise you - that treat of spent compost must have done the trick. Sorry to read about the fate of your strawberries but hope that the new ones turn out to be just as delicious. I reluctantly cleared my strawberry beds last year after four productive years and am be starting off from scratch again.

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    1. Not this year, I'll have to let it settle first, but I might risk a stalk or two next year. I think it probably was the spent compost which did the trick. Good luck with your new strawberry bed, I look forward to hearing which varieties you've chosen.

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  2. Rhubarb is apparently quite difficult to kill - though I have managed it once without even trying... Mine's just started shooting up now - I can almost taste that rhubarb and ginger jam!

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    1. I'd never thought of rhubarb jam, that will definitely be something I'll make once they get producing.

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  3. gosh, three rhubarb posts on one morning! And all from Yorkshire! The others are Sue Garrett and my own!

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    1. Great minds think alike.

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  4. It's a busy time now for growers isn't it? It's good to see the seeds germinating and growing with some surprises such as your rhubarb. With further nurturing you will have a strong plant and extra produce. We love rhubarb so it's good to have a supply at hand. We have some growing in the allotment and we were given some more produce by our daughter when we went to visit!

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    1. It's very busy at the moment. My seedlings are all vying for space on the windowsills. I just need to get the rhubarb crowns settled in for a year or two and then I'm looking forward to lots of lovely pies and crumbles.

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  5. Hi Jo, It's certainly my favourite time of the year. Everything is growing all of a sudden. I'm sure your rhubarb will be fine once planted out. It's hard to kill rhubarb. In fact I've got too much of the stuff. think I'm going to have to replace some of my strawberries too. don't think they liked all that wet weather in autumn.

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    1. It's amazing how everything seems to have sprung up overnight. Just goes to show what a bit of warmer weather can do. My allotment tends to hold on to water so I think this is what's done for the strawberries. Never mind, I shall buy some more and hopefully still get a harvest.

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  6. I like your rhubarb story, and hope it will give you some good rhubarb later on. I also enjoy this time of year; so many signs of things to come as well as the spring colour.

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    1. I'm hoping that the spindly crown will improve once it's in the ground, time will tell. My garden seems to be bursting in to colour at the moment. I haven't had many winter flowering plants, but the spring ones are certainly coming in to their own now.

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  7. Rhubarb is taking centre stage at the moment isn't it? We added a Stocksbridge Arrow to our collection too last year..

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    1. I think everyone's plants are coming in to growth, there'll be lots of cumbles on the menu soon. I don't know much about the different varieties, but Stockbridge Arrow has got some good write ups.

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  8. I think soon enough we will all be comparing Rhubarb crumble recipes.

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    1. Next year for me, I daren't take anything from either of them this year.

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  9. My rhubarb will be a couple of weeks yet, and the strawberries I transplanted last autumn are just beginning to show new growth.
    As you say everything was, and still is, 3/4 weeks adrift so do bear that in mind.
    It's good to see that we're all got seeds germinating and are busy again. Flighty xx

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    1. I think we'll all be busy for some time this year, most of us are behind with things because of the weather. It will be interesting to see if everything manages to catch up.

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  10. Rhubarb is a tough plant, a good feed and it will take off. I took my strawberries out of my allotment as the fruit was been eating by the wild life. I have some in containers in the back garden and I get to eat those.

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    1. I'm hoping that I can revive the straggly rhubarb. I have some strawberries in containers in the garden, but I don't get the quantity that I'll get from a decent sized bed at the allotment. I'm aiming for a good harvest.

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  11. Our rhubarb is going great guns now and I've already made 3 crumbles and given some away.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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    1. You must have plenty. I love to share any surplus with family and friends.

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  12. Isn't it great when things start to grow and pop their heads above the ground. Well done on rescuing the rhubarb, I am sure it will repay you with lots of lovely red stalks xxx

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    1. I love everything springing back to life, it shows that spring is well and truly here at last. I'm glad I saw those few leaves poking out the top of the compost bag, I do hope it thrives.

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  13. I think both of your rhubarb crowns will give you a great harvest. Around here everything is starting to bloom and even the magnolia trees are starting to show. I love to walk at this time of year to see all the new growth coming alive again.

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    1. I hope so. I love the countryside at this time of year, but blink and you miss all the buds before they burst and everywhere's green again.

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  14. I could never grow rhubarb on my allotment despite trying for years, then I moved here and there was one already in the garden and it does brilliantly. Not managed to harvest any yet, it will be worth the wait though I'm sure.

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    1. How odd that rhubarb wouldn't grow on your allotment. My next door plot neighbour has a huge patch on his. Glad you can finally grow it, I hope it's worth the wait.

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  15. It's good to know that rhubarb is hard to kill.. I inherited one in the veg garden, but it will need moving. It's a big plant, not sure how well it will cope with that. I'll take this year's crop off it first.

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    1. As far as I'm aware, I think you're better moving it once the plant is dormant. My dad used to lift his rhubarb to divide it in winter. I'm sure it will be fine once it's been moved.

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  16. Rhubarb is one of my favourites, I have Timperley Early's and love picking stalks to roast and eat for breakfast. I bet yours loved that compost it was in!

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    1. I've never heard of anyone eating rhubarb for breakfast before. I definitely think it was the spent compost which coaxed it back to life.

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    2. Here's another breakfast rhubarbeater - stewed on porridge

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    3. I should have said I've never heard of anyone eating roast rhubarb for breakfast before, I know people have compote and rhubarb jam and things like that. My mum loves stewed rhubarb but my dad always wants it making in to a pie (not for breakfast though).

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  17. How splendid that a seemingly dead rhubarb has come back to life. My rhubarb is just beginning to open, it's really late this year but last year I had a bumper harvest.

    I love strawberries too but don't do to well with them for some reason.

    It is such a wonderfully busy time isn't it. Just not enough hours in the day.xxxx

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    1. I think it must have been the spent compost which nudged a bit of life back in it, I'm not complaining. My first strawberry bed was great, so productive, I'm hoping that I can get some more plants producing well for me. It's so busy at the moment, but I enjoy it.

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  18. Nature will always find a way Jo - and rhubarb is as tough as old boots. Hope it does well for you.

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    1. I'm hoping that I can coax it in to producing more than the spindly stems it already has. I'm sure once it's in the ground it will prefer it to a pot.

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  19. That just shows how tough rhubarb is, thats great that you have two crowns to plant at the allotment. My patience has been rewarded, I planted a crown a couple of years ago and refrained from picking any and now have a huge plant and I harvested my first crop last week. It is an early variety. I'd like to plant another later one too. I love rhubarb. It should do well for us here in Yorkshire!

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    1. Two crowns are definitely better than one, providing I can get the spindly one producing a bit better. Well done on your patience, it's certainly paid off if it's grown well. A later variety would extend the cropping season.

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  20. I also threw an old crown onto the compost pile last year. Lo and behold it was growing when I went through the pile last month! They're hardy plants and seem to be able to survive anything - they do originate from Mongolia so I suppose they'd have to.

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    1. I'm glad I didn't dispose of it completely, I suppose you are too. More crowns equals more rhubarb, sounds good to me.

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  21. A gardening friend had the same experience and her rhubarb is now huge. I hope your commenters are right, Jo, as I also have a tiny rhubarb plant (Glaskins Perpetual, grown from seed) which only went into heavily mulched soil a few weeks ago. It looks so tiny out there so I'm hoping that it will perk up with this warmer weather we've had! So far the slugs seem to have left it alone (all that acid in the leaves, I guess!).

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    1. That's a novelty, something which the slugs will leave alone. Let's hope that both our rhubarb plants will grow well. I'm hoping to get mine in the ground this weekend, weather permitting.

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  22. You have reminded me that I need to replace some of the strawberry plants at my new allotment before the growing season really get going. It is indeed a busy time of year - quite panic-inducing in fact! I usually calm down once everything is planted out into its final growing place.

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    1. There's so much to do at this time of year, especially so this year as we haven't been able to get much done up to now because of the weather. I do enjoy being busy though, I think it's the most exciting time of the year when everything just starts growing.

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