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How to Grow Rhubarb in Ireland


 
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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 12:46 am    Post subject: How to Grow Rhubarb in Ireland Reply with quote

How to Grow Rhubarb
By Rachel Paxton


I have always grown rhubarb in my garden. Sometimes we eat it and sometimes we don't, but I think I just enjoy admiring its big green leaves and pretty red stalks.

Rhubarb will grow almost anywhere.
We have moved our rhubarb plant five times in the past twenty years (yes, twenty!). It just keeps coming back year after year. This plant is very resistant to winter weather and drought.

Here are some basic tips for growing rhubarb:

Rhubarb season runs from April to September.
You can buy starter plants (root clumps) at most garden centres or nurseries. The best time to plant them is early spring, but I have also transplanted them in autumn, and they came back in the spring.

Rhubarb prefers fertile, well drained soil. It thrives best in full sun but will also tolerate part shade (it just won't grow as large).

Plant your rhubarb roots in a hole two feet deep and two feet wide and leave at least three feet between plants.
When you place the plant in the hole, the crown bud should be two inches below the ground surface. Add some composted manure or peat moss to the hole before filling it in.

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The plant won't be big enough to harvest the first year, but starting in the second year you can cut a few stalks as soon as they grow to about the size of your finger.
Cut the stalk to the ground level. Only the stalks are edible--the leaves are poisonous and should not be consumed. Flowering stalks can be cut and discarded whenever they appear.

Fertilize your rhubarb plant with composted manure or leaves in autumn or early winter.

Rhubarb is easy to freeze.
Choosing firm red stalks, wash in cold water and cut into 1-inch lengths. Place in freezer bags or freezer containers. Leave 1/2 inch space for expansion in freezer containers.

Here are some great rhubarb recipes for your family to try:

Rhubarb Crunch


6 cup raw rhubarb, chopped
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening
3 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix rhubarb, 3 T. flour, and white sugar and place in bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Mix remaining flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, and shortening until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of rhubarb mixture. Bake 20 min. or until rhubarb is tender.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

4 cups rhubarb, diced
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 box white cake mix
1 (3 oz.) package strawberry Jelly
Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ingredients in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish in the following order: rhubarb, sugar, dry jelly, marshmallows. Top with dry cake mix and a little butter. Bake for 45 minutes.

Rhubarb Jam

4 cups cut rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
4 cups sugar
1 pkg. raspberry gelatin

Heat rhubarb slowly in covered pan until rhubarb is tender, adding a little water if necessary. Add sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved. Stir to keep from sticking. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour into jelly jars and refrigerate.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com

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IrishYank75
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:56 pm    Post subject: How do you know when rhubarb is ready? Reply with quote

Hello. Can anyone tell me how I will know if my rhubarb is ready?
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crosseyedsheep
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't actually ripen, once you have rhubarb stalks you can use them, they just get bigger if they are left longer.
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IrishYank75
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And do they lose flavor if you leave them too long or do they just get bigger?
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The longer you leave it, the more likely it is to become 'stringy', i.e. fibrous rather than tender and succulent, but this doesn't mean that you can't use older stems for jams and chutneys - if that's your bag.

A popular method of getting the most from your crop is to 'force' it. This is done by placing a tall earthenware type pot, e.g. an old chimney pot, over the first shoots as they emerge. The natural instinct for them is to struggle up towards the light as quickly as possible and this produces a tender stem for early use.

As soon as flowers appear, cut them off as they will drain nutrient from the roots and stunt the rest of the plant.

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tippben
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, older rhubarb gets sourer and less digestible, needing more sugar to be palatable. Jams and chutneys (even rhubarb rum, similar to sloe gin) are good ways to use it. The stringiness can be reduced by using a speed peeler before use, as many people do with celery and asparagus.
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IrishYank75
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. That's great help! As I I have had this growing in the same place for the last three years and the plant is well established. I have heard you should take too much off the plant or it may be harmful. Is there a rule of thumb around how much you should take?
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be OK now as the 'probationary period' is over.

Normally you take no crop from it in the first year, go sparingly in the second and then as much as you like thereafter, BUT ..... your plant(s) will replace what you've harvested once the foliage dies back in the autumn AND they'll grow bigger underground SO,the greeedier you are with your picking, the more it has to recuperate before putting on new growth.

I'm not suggesting you should stint yourself with what you take off in summer but, the more you leave behind unneeded, the more there is to drain back into the sizeable root and feed next season's crop. A good old dose of compost or farmyard manure in autumn is always a good investment as the winter rain takes it down for the roots to absorb in readiness for next spring. My plants are already in leaf - not big enough to pull, of course - and have been for a couple of weeks.

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