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GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 1,807
I have some Rhubarb I'm very proud of because I raised it the hard way from seed many moons ago.

Here is the question, I've not forced it in the past, but thought I might try because in these difficult times Rhubarb crumble will go nicely with the custard powder I had left over in the cupboard.

Reading up, the advice is not to pull from a plant for 2 years after forcing.

Is this necessary? It seems a bit of a shame to not be able to harvest it for the following two years.

I have 3 crowns, so there is the option of forcing one and rotating, but what do you old hands think? Is the advice OTT or is it a necessary precaution to keep the vitality of my Rhubarb?


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 60,716
    The advice not to crop your rhubarb the year after forcing relates to the practice of lifting the crown, exposing it to frost and then placing it in a warmer situation to force it into growth much much earlier than normal. This is what is done by commercial rhubarb producers.

    The more usual practice of placing a forcing pot or large bucket of straw or whatever over the crown in the winter to give it a bit of protection and encourage growth a bit earlier than normal is fine ... I've done it year after year.  

    However, I grow the variety Timperley Early and have found that with the last two mild-ish winters we've been picking rhubarb in February without any forcing at all, not even a heap of straw and an old sack.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 1,807
    Hi Dove, lovely to see you are still here and thanks for the insights. Have I rather missed the boat then, thinking of forcing now, is it something I should have done over the winter months? At the moment I have a few stems up and plenty ready to unfurl at the crowns, is there anything to gain from popping an old dustbin over it now?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 60,716
    Hi @GemmaJF :)

    I don't think there's much to gain now, with the weather warming up a bit (well, apart from today anyway  - we have sleet today ❄)

    If I'm doing the gentle forcing thing I put something over the crown in Dec/January sort of time.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 1,807
    Ah thanks, one for the notebook then! At least I won't have to clean out an old dustbin just yet  :)
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 60,716
    edited 29 March
    We had to clean one out ... to pot on our canna this week ... it's too big for it's old pot and the GC is closed so we couldn't buy it a smart new one.  

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 1,807
    Ooh, just the job! I was looking on the net for rhubarb forces, really expensive. Then I thought, silly me, we have two old plastic dustbins. They changed the collection system a few years back to a coloured bag system and they have stood unused since. Been trying to change my ways recently and not just throw money at my gardening, make do and mend! I'll have to find a use for them over the summer now, perhaps use them for a bit of composting and clean them out in the autumn for rhubarb forcing next winter.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 209
    There's something dairy farmers use that comes in large (200ltr?) blue barrels and I got five @ a fiver each locally.  Flutter your eyelashes at a farmer GemmaJF and you may be lucky.  Take one end off and you've got your forcer.
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 1,807
    Hmmm, good thinking, the local farmer is a bit of alright, so that could a tactic  :D
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,054
    I've forced rhubarb before and got lovely tender sticks of rhubarb but this year for some reason the sticks although looking young and fresh were tough as old boots, such as when I peeled the outer skin from some of them the stick curled and cracked, I don't know if it was because the covering plant pot had lifted and let light in.
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