Rhubarb is something of an understated plant with most people only associating it with desserts like Rhubarb and Custard or a comforting crumble and, for some, this may be reason alone for adding a few plants to your veg patch or an unused corner of the garden.
It can be so much more. Chopped into 3cm pieces coated in sugar and stored in a jar over night, Gin can then be added, the jar sealed and stored for 4 weeks to make a delightful rhubarb gin that will refresh in the summer. Roasted in the oven with some fresh ginger, it can be transformed into a wonderful sauce to add to fish or poultry. Stewed, cooled and mixed with yoghurt and granola offers a light, refreshing breakfast. There are countless recipes to be found online to put those pink stems to good use.
Growing and Harvesting
Depending on the variety, stems can start to be pulled from mid-April right through the summer and even this lengthy season can be extended by forcing rhubarb under buckets or pots to give slightly sweeter, blanched stalks even earlier in the year.
The added bonus is that it is pretty easy to grow, just give it a spot in rich, well manured soil in full sun, water through dry periods and you'll be able to pull stems every day or two through the season. When buying young crowns though, it is best to allow them to establish for a year before harvesting more than the odd stalk.
Other than that, if flowers appear cut them off, remove dead leaves in autumn and then add manure and a good mulch to see them through to the following year.
What variety to buy?
“Timperley Early” is recognised as one of the best varieties to grow, producing earlier than most and proving ideal for our colder climate as it requires a good chilling period over the winter season.
We currently have number of "Timperley Early" crowns in stock, available online and in our stores, so why not give it try and you'll be enjoying the bounty of this fabulous plant for years to come.