Plan your planting of Rhubarb and prepare the ground then you will be growing crumbles and pie fillings for years.
Select a variety or two, chose the growing site and care for your plants then ‘the jobs a good one!’
Varieties of Rhubarb to Select
- Victoria, with thin stalks of rosy red that turn pink and green towards the tip is a late season cropper.
- Timperley Early AGM is the earliest to be harvested with long stems and a good flavour.
Raspberry Red is a mid-late season variety of deep red stalks.
- Stocksbridge Arrow, is an old favourite in the West Riding of Yorkshire the home of there rhubarb triangle.
- Champagne (shown above) is one of the best varieties.
- Fultons Strawberry Surprise is ideal for growing in borders or large patio containers.
- There are lots of varieties to choose from at your garden centre, specialist growers or to cadge a crown from friends or neighbours.
Thompson & Morgan supply several varieties by mail order.
Get a Site for Growing Your Rhubarb
- Prepare the ground with lots of manure or good compost. The Rhubarb crowns will be heavy feeders and stay in one place for many years.
- Rhubarb likes a bit of sunshine but I must admit mine is fine in partial shade.
- ‘Water Rhubarb even when it is raining’ is an old gardeners saying that hints at the need for water.
- Rhubarb is easy to grow from a chunk cut off from a larger clump with a spade. Ensure you have some leafy shoots and a thick healthy root.
Growing and Caring for Your Rhubarb
- Do not pick all the stems from one crown.
- Spread a thick mulch of well rotted manure around clumps to conserve moisture and provide some feed.
- Resist taking stems in the first year to allow the plants to pick up strength.
- Rhubarb crops from March to July then it should be left to put on strength for next year.
- Break off stems that look like they are hollow and are about to flower. Rhubarb needs all it’s strength to grow more stalks for you to pick.
Rhubarb Good Enough to Eat
- The stems are the only part you eat. The leaves are full of poisonous Oxalic acid.
- Rhubarb is a vegetable but despite or because of its tart flavour it is mainly eaten as a sweet with sugar.
- Rhubarb like a bit of winter frost to encourage early growth.
- Forced Rhubarb is pinker and more tender. Cover clumps with straw and a pot to keep it warm and dark. Only force the plant in alternate years to avoid weakening the crown.
What can you say about Gods Own County supplying Gods own fruit-pie-filling in the form of early forced Rhubarb?
Most definitely your own rhubarb grown in your garden, with a bit of horse muck for added flavour, will far exceed the watery stuff you can buy at supermarkets.
Forced in the Yorkshire Rhubarb triangle and picked by candle light you will also experience that acidic tang of this remarkable herb (not a fruit).
Unforced Rhubarb by Cross Duck CC BY-NC-ND 2.0