Force early rhubarb

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

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

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