Good enough to eat

Kentish Express Ashford & District - East Kent Property - - OUTDOORS -

Rhubarb isn’t tech­ni­cally a fruit, as it’s the stems we eat, but it has now been lumped into that cat­e­gory be­cause we gen­er­ally have it in pud­dings - pies and crum­bles, fools and jams.

What­ever your opin­ion on its cat­e­gory, this is a plant that is re­ally easy to grow even if you just want a few stems.

Plant dor­mant crowns in late au­tumn or early spring in heavy soil with plenty of added or­ganic mat­ter, prefer­ably in full sun so the stems will be­come red­der and sweeter.

Plants should be 3ft apart. Re­move any flow­er­ing stems which ap­pear in sum­mer, cut­ting them out as close to the base as you can, then re­move dead leaves when the fo­liage dies down in au­tumn, adding gen­er­alpur­pose fer­tiliser to the soil and mulching lib­er­ally.

If you want to force rhubarb for ear­lier stems, cover a well-es­tab­lished crown with a rhubarb forc­ing pot or up­turned dust­bin in mid Jan­uary or early Fe­bru­ary and cover the ground around it with straw for in­su­la­tion.

A few weeks later, long stems with pale leaves should ap­pear and they can be har­vested un­til the end of March. Then un­cover the plant to let it de­velop nat­u­rally and don’t force the same crown ev­ery year.

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