Saturday, 31 March 2012

Rhubarb Survives Going to Seed


Regular Readers may remember that we let our Rhubarb go to seed last year.

Letting Rhubarb go to seed is not generally recommended because it may weaken your plants.

Our Rhubarb is an old soldier who has survived years of nurturing, followed by years of neglect, a few years of half-hearted tending and finally, the indignity of being left to seed on purpose.

He is still going strong.

Letting him seed appears to have done little harm and, I am told, the fruit tastes just as good.
Steve had some of the young stems last night.
I wouldn't touch it with a Barge Pole :)

I'm pleased to see him, though. Not only because of the seeding thing, but also because this past winter was not a good one for Rhubarb.
Earlier this year the famous Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle was very worried about this year's crop. Thankfully for them, and for Rhubarb lovers of the UK, all turned out well in the end.

We had intended to divide our crowns because he sits in an 'awkward' position. This needs to be done when he is dormant, so we have missed the boat - hopefully we shall remember at the back end of this year.

I am also reminded that I was going to have a go at growing new plants from some of our saved seed.

I may be gone for some time whilst I try to find which 'safe place' I put them in...

20 comments:

  1. Glad 'he' came back! As you already know, I stopped mine going to seed last year. I adore rhubarb and I couldn't risk losing my plant, it had just become established and able to withstand my eager harvests. I'm planting another crown at my allotment, yummers!

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    1. Yes, I do recall your Rhubarb and I remember thinking it was sensible for a young plant - hope it rewards you this year, and good luck with the new crown :)

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  2. Sorry, forgot to add that I hope you find your seeds!

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  3. I thought about your rhubarb going to seed only yesterday whilst admiring mine coming back up! How funny. V interesting post and am delighted the old boy is back in form! Am going to try to make rhubarb cordial, tastes really nice and good use of fruit.

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    1. Cordial is a nice idea. I doubt that I would like it though. I didn't even like the Rhubarb Wine I made and ended up using it as cooking wine :) Steve would appreciate a cordial though, might give it a go, thanks!

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  4. A couple of years ago I acquired some rhubarb seeds and grew a small plant in a pot that subsequently seemed to expire in particularly hot conditions, so I tipped it onto the compost heap. When we cleared out the compost heap 8 months later I discovered the determined plant still soldiering on. I planted him out and didn't harvest anything last year. Am really looking fwd to some fresh homegrown rhubarb this summer! It would have been a lot quicker just to buy a crown, but I shall really appreciate it knowing it's been grown from scratch.

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    1. As I recall, it takes 2 years before you get a harvest from Rhubarb grown from seed. I bet yours had a grand old time in the Compost Heap and I imagine it will have done it more good than harm :) As you say, it should taste even better, knowing it's history!

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  5. Thanks for this interesting follow up post, and of course we expect further ones on growing from seed! Flighty xx

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    1. I haven't found them yet, Flighty, and there were so many! I know they are in an envelope. I have stopped looking, on the theory that if I'm not looking for them, they will show themselves ;)

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  6. Rhubarb is only dormant for a small part of the year. So her when it's dormant the ground is frozen.I learned a lot about rhubarb.

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    1. Hopefully, our ground won't be frozen (fingers crossed) but our weather is so unpredictable....

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  7. We used to have a large patch at my grandmother's (later ours) house and we never worried about what it did. My father put manure on it when we did the garden and just let it grow.

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    1. We have a similar history, Becky. This house was bought by my Great-Grandad but I think the Rhubarb hails from my Grandad. I'm pretty sure he has been self-seeding over the years.

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  8. I hope we all go to seed so gracefully :) Hope Steve enjoys some tasty rhubarb dishes. Here strawberry and rhubarb pie is a well sought after treat.

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    1. Strawberry and Rhubarb sounds good, especially as strawberries are one of Steve's favourites - thanks for the idea!

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  9. We had rhubarb for years and years but don't seem to have much luck starting a new one since he has been gone.

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  10. I always pull off these flowers...maybe I'll leave some this year. They are very dramatic looking.

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  11. My wife bought a rhubarb plant at the market last year. It has survived the winter in North Wales but has gone a bit crazy this year shooting up to about three feet tall and has a seedy type head.
    How do I control this and stop it from happening again?
    Also, can we eat any rhubarb off it this year?
    Many thanks
    L D

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    1. Hi! I don't think you can stop it from happening but you can certainly cut the stalk off. In fact, it is generally recommended that you do because letting it flower may weaken it, especially if it is young.
      You can still eat the Rhubarb - but I wouldn't try eating the stalk with the flower on :)
      Thanks for visiting.

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  12. I stopped my rhubarb from going to seed and its still producing stalks but they aren't red really...first year for this plant...there was lots of manure where its planted ...I was thinking of making rhubarb pickles but I don't know if they would be any good...does anyone know? How red does rhubarb have to be to be good? It's really late in the season here in Oregon for rhubarb..

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