Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Forcing Rhubarb

Just a week ago I found a discarded black plastic dustbin in a skip. I had been looking for something to completely exclude all light from my rhubarb crowns. This patch of 'Timperley Early' is nearly 4 years old, so the plant is strong enough to withstand forcing. Just by excluding all light during the first few months of growing produces much sweeter and more tender sticks of rhubarb at the beginning of the season. This does put somewhat of a strain on the plant, but this is a patch of rhubarb which I am going to move, dig up or give away next year.
Many more of my first set of early tomato seedlings have germinated in my heated propagator. Once again the variety I have named Great Wall of China is well ahead, all 7 of the seeds planted are up. 100% germination rate in 7 days!
Shallots 'Pikant' have been planted in modules in the unheated part of the greenhouse just to get them off to a good start. They seem to be responding well to the increasing day length.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli 'Rudolph' is still producing fantastic spears every week. This should keep me going until the main crop starts in April.
Finally, the old bird box is on its last legs, so it came down today... down with the old...
And up with the new!


At 1:14 AM, Blogger Dan said...

I have not heard of forcing rhubarb before. I will have to give this a try when the ground thaws, sounds interesting.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

I think it's cruel, forcing it! Maybe you should gently persuade it?

All the rhubarb grown in the so called Rhubarb Triangle is forced in sheds. It costs the earth in the shops - well done with the skip diving!

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

What bird wouldn't want to live in a house like that? Everything is looking excellent, the Spring is surely coming!!!

P.S. Did you see

Rather annoying Anti-Allotment article in the Guardian.
I'm Carr1e on the comment list.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger HappyMouffetard said...

I always think that new rhubarb shoots look vaguely scary - a bit 'triffidy'. Your purple sprouting brocolli looks really healthy.

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Eco Gites of Lenault said...

I must have planted a very late form of PSB - everyone seems to be harvesting theirs but mine is showing no sign of florets yet. (Forced rhubarb is coming on a treat through!)

Rosie x

At 8:46 PM, Blogger VP said...

Oh I love skip raids! That's quite a find and forced rhubarb is so yummy :)

At 10:50 PM, Blogger UpToMyElbows said...

Hi Matron, This year I've planted my first Rhubarb plant (same variety as yours) it was this years valentines day pressie, hope it looks as good as yours this time next year!

At 8:05 AM, Blogger UKBob said...

Hi Matron, The birds eat my Broccoli when the snow was on, I don't know whether it will recover or not. Bob.

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Parsec said...

Cool photos...that is so interesting how you've forced the rhubarb. I've never seen that you ever make rhubarb pies?

And that broccoli is really nice!

At 11:34 PM, Blogger keewee said...

I plan on growing rhubarb this season I also, had nor heard of forcing rhubarb, I will have to give it a try once my new plant is established, probably next year.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

This is comforting. :)
I've just cleared a patch of the plot thats been overgrown since we took it on a year ago and found some rhubarb sprouting under all the weeds. I was slightly worried it may be too early for it to be popping its head above ground but looks like other people's are too. Phew!

Not going to 'force' it this year though, not sure how long its been there and its done pretty well to survive amidst a sea of weeks so think I'll just let it do its thing this year. :)

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Curmudgeon said...

Lovely purple broccoli! I'm quite fond of the purple varieties of veggies--pak choi, potatoe, cauliflower, kale, carrots and of course purple podded peas!

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Rumela said...

Always a fan of the Rhubarb Torte. Mmmn. My rhubarb is jealous and feeling second-rate.thank you for shearing your post.


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