Rhubarb

Gardening to 'grow your own food' from square foot to half an acre !!
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Gwenoakes
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Rhubarb

Post by Gwenoakes »

I put in two crowns of Rhubarb last year and got quite a lot off them. This year so far the stems are much smaller in width and I wondered if I could do something about it.
Don't get me wrong it is very tasty, but a bit more would be lovely.
Anyone any ideas....I did put large plant pots over the crowns stuffed with straw through winter as I seemed to remember in the back of my mind my Stepfather doing this years ago.
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Mo
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Re: Rhubarb

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The pots were to 'force' the rhubarb and get an earlier crop. The plant grows to look for light. But since it hasn't got as much light it can't photosynthesise well, hence less crop. I read that you should only 'force' a crown once in ? years, to give it time to recover. A choice between early thin stems or thick strong ones - or maybe alternate one crown of each.
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Gwenoakes
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by Gwenoakes »

Thanks, Mo.
I didn't cover them to force them, at least that was not my intention, but to protect them from the winter cold. Once again my mind seems to remember my Stepfather saying/doing this, but could have got it muddled up over the years, you know, getting half a story as a child.
Do you not need to protect them in winter then?
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KarenE
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by KarenE »

No, just a top dressing of fertiliser (I put it around rather than on top) and in fact they need a bit of frost/cold to kick start their growth after they've been dormant in the winter. Mo is right, the plant pot is to force the rhubarb not to shelter it. They are pretty hardy
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lancashire lass
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by lancashire lass »

Gwenoakes wrote:I put in two crowns of Rhubarb last year and got quite a lot off them. This year so far the stems are much smaller in width


.... did you only plant the crowns last year? And also harvested them last year?

From the BBC Gardening Guides

Allow rhubarb to establish for one year before taking your first harvest. Select three of the largest stalks, waiting for the leaves to fully open before pulling from May to August


Possibly the reason for the smaller stems is that at the same time they were establishing themselves and building up a food stock in the roots, you were harvesting that food source. I'd suggest perhaps not being so eager to harvest too much this year so that they can recover. Next year you should have loads of rhubarb!

KarenE wrote: in fact they need a bit of frost/cold to kick start their growth after they've been dormant in the winter.


yes, rhubarb do better after a cold winter )t'
Gwenoakes
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by Gwenoakes »

Oh, well looks like I did it all wrong. :oops: I have already had two lots of stems off them this year, the last one being yesterday......ooops.....
Thanks, everyone, I will do better.........honest. LOL
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lancashire lass
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by lancashire lass »

Gwenoakes wrote:Oh, well looks like I did it all wrong. :oops: I have already had two lots of stems off them this year, the last one being yesterday......ooops.....
Thanks, everyone, I will do better.........honest. LOL


There's still time for the plants to recover and build up for next year )t'
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Mo
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by Mo »

Tempting though. like when you plant fruit trees and are supposed to not let them fruit the first year.
Also you shouldn't pick the rhubarb too late in the season - stop in July I think .
And don't eat the leaves, they contain oxalic acid.
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Gwenoakes
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by Gwenoakes »

Thanks everyone.
Yes I did know about the leaves, Mo even if I did not know much else. LOL
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Mo
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Re: Rhubarb

Post by Mo »

It was the 'stop in July' bit that reminded me about the leaves. I've heard/read that you should stop to let the crowns build up for next year, but someone said because the oxalic acid moves further down into the top of the stem. Don't know what it does if you do eat it, maybe just stomach ache. I got a horrid stomach ache from shop bought forced rhubarb once (years ago before my fruit garden was established).

Glad you knew, but maybe someone who comes across this thread will learn something
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