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Flowering rhubarb

by Pippa Greenwood

I'm rather fond of rhubarb, preferably under a thick blanket of butter crumble or stewed with a dollop of organic vanilla ice-cream.

Rhubarb plant in flowerI'm rather fond of rhubarb, preferably under a thick blanket of butter crumble or stewed with a dollop of organic vanilla ice-cream.

We normally have a great crop from our organic kitchen garden, but this year my rhubarb plants are producing flowers instead of the edible stems I love so much.

Rhubarb crowns were some of the first crops we planted in our vegetable garden. I scrounged them from my school friend's dad, who still lives at the end of the road where I was brought up. The crowns he gave us produced bright red, slim, succulent and tasty stems.

But I've just discovered three flower stalks have grown in my rhubarb patch. If left to bloom, they can weaken or even kill the crowns, although I've never had the nerve to let this happen.

I removed the flower stems straight away to encourage the plants to produce more delicious stems. Not one to waste a good flower, however, I put the beautiful blooms in a vase.

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Gardeners' World Web User 11/05/2008 at 17:05

I have several crowns, one in the garden and several in big pots but they seem to be dying off prematurely, can a crown have a limited life span or are they lacking in nutrients?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/05/2008 at 17:50

I grew rhubarb from seed for my allotment and with 3 seeds I got three lovely plants, but the rhubarb wasn't ready to pick until about september and old hands told me it shouldn't be picked after midsummers day. It was lovely right into october.Now I have had to leave my allotment and my one plant in my garden flowered before anything grew, I snapped it off, it's not recovering very quickly.

Gardeners' World Web User 14/05/2008 at 07:13

how can i keep ferral pidgeons out of my garden

Gardeners' World Web User 15/05/2008 at 17:31

I've tried using the juice from stewed rhubarb and making a bucks fizz with champagne! incredible!

Gardeners' World Web User 15/05/2008 at 20:43

Gunnera substitute. I grew a proper crown (like a giant doughnut) for years. A friend had thrown it on his rubbish heap and I made him retreive it. I grew it in dry soil next to a pond mainly for the leaves and the flowers and it flowered every year. I only removed it when I re-shaped my pond. It must have been very old. I don't know the variety. The flower stems were not as high as 'Champagne' but then it was never fed.

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