It is at this time of year that you can maintain your rhubarb plants
. Under the soil you will find a hard woody mass which contains the crowns,
or buds for next year's crop. Rhubarb needs a good frosty period in order to ripen the crowns and produce a good crop. A good hard frost is just what it needs.
Rhubarb is a greedy feeder and needs lashings and lashings of compost and manure. Here you will see that I have dug up a clump of about 4 or 5 crowns to give to my friend Stan
for his veggie garden. Rhubarb does tend to get a bit tired and congested if you don't lift and divide your crowns every few years or so. It gives them a new lease of life.
This variety is Timperley Early
. Once you have lifted and separated some new crowns and re-planted them, you must allow the plant a whole year to recover and you must not pick any rhubarb the following Summer. Then after one year you can start to pick sparingly. After about 3 years it will be in its element and producing a great crop. If you are not dividing your rhubarb this year, then take the time over the next few weeks to mulch a good few inches of well rotted manure on top of your rhubarb. It will pay you back in pies and crumbles next year!
And here is my crown of rhubarb being planted at its new home at Stan's house today. All I asked in return was a bowl of homemade parsnip and apple soup, and some freshly cooked chocolate brownies. A fair exchange, don't you think?