Why Yorkshire Rhubarb
The best Rhubarb is grown in the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ in West Riding of Yorkshire. There are low brick buildings visible from the M1 around Wakefield that are used as the forcing sheds. Forced Rhubarb is kept in the dark so the stems are long thin pink and early to crop
It is September and my Rhubarb is now well over and is succumbing to snails and rotting. Having divided the crowns a couple of years ago I have several vigourous plants that provided vegetables for many early summer pies. Rhubarb is easy for beginners to grow.
To force the plants to produce thin, pink, early stalks, Rhubarb needs a bit of frost to break the dormancy followed by a dark covering. In November I am going to try digging up a large root and leave it on top of the soil for a week of frost. Then I will replant it with an old black dustbin on top to draw out some stems. You can buy forcing terracotta pots for the purpose that add an authentic look.
Rhubarb can be cropped from May through July but keep half the leaves to help the crowns build up for the following year. Divide every 5-7 years when they are over grown or stalks become too thin.
Yorkshire excels because the damp climate justifies the old sore ‘water rhubarb even when it is raining.’
My last post alluded to the green shoots of economic recovery, well all I can now say is Rhubarb Rhubarb. This is a clump of my Rhubarb waiting to joins other stalks in a crumble or pie.
Growing Rhubarb to Eat
- The stalks are the only part to be eaten, the leaves are full of poisonous Oxalic acid.
- Rhubarb is a vegetable but despite or because of its tart flavour it is mainly eaten with sugar as a sweet.
- Rhubarb like a bit of winter frost to encourage growth.
- Forcing Rhubarb by covering to make dark warm conditions will produce early, thin, tender stalks. Only force the plant in alternate years to avoid weakening the crown.
- Cropping between April to June when little else is available this is an undemanding and easy to cultivate plant
- The flowers are borne on hollow stalks and a a greyish white. I pull them out to conserve the plants strength.