London (change)
12 messages
05/03/2014 at 13:42

A couple of years ago my neighbour gave me a crown of his rhubarb, and this year I am looking forward to picking it.  It has been covered up all winter, and now has plenty of young, pink stems.  Do I keep it covered, while picking it, or should it now be open in order to firm up?

05/03/2014 at 13:56

Mine is still under it's forcing pot - I've had one picking from it already last week - I'll probably not take the forcing pot off until mid April but I'll probably take the lid off and leave it off next time I pick a few stalks - depending of course on the weather.


05/03/2014 at 18:41

Mine's just started popping up.

That's not a forcing pot. It's to keep the rabbits off!

Why won't they leave my allotment in peace

 Does constant forcing year after year cause any stress to the plant ??

05/03/2014 at 21:54

Not being a person who does much forcing I'm not sure but would guess it can not be a good idea to force the same plant every year.

05/03/2014 at 22:09

Dove, that's one classy forcer.


06/03/2014 at 15:56

I force my Rhubarb every other year,I tend to agree that forcing the same plant year after year is not a good idea.

06/03/2014 at 17:09

What I do isn't real forcing - it's just a bit of blanching really.  Real forcing involved digging the plant up and exposing the root to frost, then taking into a dark and warm building.

Just blanching with a rhubarb pot or similar doesn't exhaust the plant as long as you stop picking it at the end of May/early June - that way it's not producing for longer than a normally produced plant.  

Lots of well rotted farm yard manure in the autumn and it'll go on year after year like that with no deterioration, in my experience 

06/03/2014 at 20:47

I always thought that putting a pot over rhubarb was forcing and am doing a bit this year. Nice to know that I'm not ruining my plants.

07/03/2014 at 08:13

Just on this, I planted some crowns this winter and I'm starting to get some nice stems. I had read that I shouldn't pick it for the first year to help it really bed itself in and strengthen but then I saw an article in the newspaper that said this is basically a bit of a myth. Would you guys harvest anything from it this year? Was thinking maybe just picking it once?

07/03/2014 at 09:25

Jimbo83   I forced a newly planted rhubarb and lost it completely.  I now have two rhubarbs and force them every other year but that also seems to be too much so going to increase to three plants this year and do a three year rotation on them.  Hope this helps - I'm in the south east.

07/03/2014 at 10:53

Any plant including bindweed and dandelions if you remove the growth enough then the plant will die.  I know that's not rhubarb but the principle is exaclty the same it's just a question of scale. Rhubarb isn't a weed, in other words it isn't so vigorous that it is a problem so you have to be more gentle with it. I would tend to read several sources of information from expert growers or suppliers and trust what they say. Some varieties will be more vigorous than other and will stand more cropping but unless you know your plants is capable of heavy cropping I would err on the side of cation and follow the guidance.

07/03/2014 at 11:07

BTW, according to the experts when you dig up your rhubarb to put in a forcing shed it should be discarded  (or at least don't expect much from it for a year or two throwing it away seems a bit harsh)

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