Rhubarb

F&F member Julie Knight reminds us to tuck up our rhubarb plants snug and sound.

If you’ve been enjoying the delectable pleasures of your rhubarb harvest this year, then spare a little thought now for your poor plant. It’s been working hard there in the corner of your garden, day in, day out, producing thick tasty tart and sweet stems from as early as March without so much as a word of complaint. Rhubarb crumble, rhubarb fool, rhubarb and custard, rhubarb and ginger jam – you’ve had them all, courtesy of your industrious plant diligently turning sunlight, water and CO2 into energy to fuel its growth.

But now is the time to stop harvesting and treat your rhubarb to some tlc. Any remaining leaves should be left to die back naturally – in the meantime, the energy produced from late summer sunshine will be diverted back to the crown and stored up for winter. If you have access to some well-rotted manure, then mulching a thick layer around the base will provide a good supply of nutrients and help insulate the crown from the cold winter temperatures; and some homemade compost will do just the same. Once tucked in, your rhubarb should sleep soundly in hibernation until early next year.

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