Force early rhubarb
THIS simple technique, stumbled upon by the Chelsea Physic Garden in the early 19th century, brings you succulent, delicately flavoured stems in the most nature-defying hot pink! Act now, and by mid February, you could be pulling stems for the kitchen.
Use an early variety like ‘Timperley Early’ or ‘Hawke’s Champagne’, which is naturally geared up to romp into growth. You can cover plants in situ, but a swanky forcing pot is optional. I use an old chimney pot and terracotta saucer. All that’s needed is darkness, so an upturned dustbin also works a treat! Lay down your preferred slug control, too. For quicker results, lift chunks of crown, pot up and move into a dark shed (throw away the lifted crowns after use).
Move forcing pots over a rhubarb bed now and expect to pull stems in March