01 Nov Planning the Plot – Rhubarb
For most people one or two Rhubarb crowns is plenty. A few Rhubarb crumbles and the odd pie is enough to satisfy the majority of allotment holders.
I, on the other hand, use Rhubarb extensively. It’s something I consume almost daily – whether it’s a Rhubarb and Custard pudding, or a helping added to some Soya Yoghurt for breakfast. As a low carb, low sugar ‘fruit’ it’s invaluable to me. It is, of course, technically a vegetable, but most use it as a fruit.
Given my copious use, I’ll be planting plenty of it. In the past, I’ve bought the odd crown, but I usually grow from seed. Both ‘Victoria’ and ‘Glaskins Perpetual’ I’ve found to be amazingly easy to grow from seed, and within months you have a good size plant. You do, of course, have to wait a bit longer to harvest. However, a packet of 50 seeds is only 99p, compared with at least £5 for a single crown. Germination, in my experience, is excellent too.
There is however a somewhat limited variety of Rhubarb seeds available. I have so far found Victoria, Glaskins Perpetual and ‘Early Red‘ – a variety I’ve yet to try. If you’re buying crowns, there are dozens of varieties available.
All varieties of Rhubarb can be divided once established, so with a little patience a single crown could in time provide a number of individual plants.
Long Cropping Rhubarb
My own plan is to sow seeds of all 3 varieties I’ve found (and if you know of others available as seeds, I’d love to know!). In addition, I will also buy 3 crowns of ‘Poulton’s Pride‘, a variety from DT Brown that supposedly crops for 10 months of the year. It can also provide a light harvest in it’s first year, which is also unusual.
An area alongside the greenhouse has been earmarked, that I have tentatively called ‘the fruit garden’. Three sides of this space will be taken up with the Rhubarb – a 12 metre length. That still leaves me with plenty of space for other fruits.
I’ve yet to decide what other fruits to plant there – blueberries for sure, along with strawberries. None of us enjoy raspberries enough to justify giving up the space, and both blackcurrents and blackberries can be found growing wild in abundance around here, so I probably won’t bother planting those either.
Apple and Pear trees will likely form part of the ‘flower garden’. I do however like the idea of having some trained trees as part of the fruit garden too. I’d welcome any suggestions for what else I should consider!