May the force be with you for rhubarb

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

is achieved by pop­ping a large con­tainer over the top of the plant to ex­clude the light. Re­move any de­bris and weeds from the base of the crown first, and se­cure the pot well.

Adding some in­su­la­tion in the form of a thick layer of straw over the crown isn’t ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary un­less you live in a cold area but it raises the tem­per­a­ture slightly and so speeds up the process.

Cus­tom-made forc­ing pots have handy lids so you can keep an eye on progress, but an up­turned dust­bin or large bucket will work just as well.

Jan­uary is the per­fect time to begin, but Fe­bru­ary is fine too so it’s not too late.

Don’t force the same crown of rhubarb ev­ery year; once forced, a plant needs a year or prefer­ably two to re­cover, so it’s best to have two or three plants and force just one of them each year.

Home- grown, freshly picked rhubarb is so much more de­li­cious than the sad, limp old stuff that you buy.

My mouth is al­ready wa­ter­ing at the thought of all those pies, crum­bles, flans and fools!

Forc­ing rhubarb en­cour­ages the sweet­est stalks

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