Mr Middleton February Dig on for Victory
Forcing Rhubarb and Seakale Outside – Rhubarb and seakale can be forced outside, more slowly than indoors, but will provide sticks to follow the earlier crops. Deep boxes or barrels placed over the crowns and covered with a good layer of warm manure or fermenting leaves will encourage growth.
I tried covering my Rhubarb crowns with straw but my hens came along and promptly scratched it all away in search of a tasty grub or two so this time l did it properly.
As you can see from the photos, there are some nice buds appearing so l am thinking they will only require a small amount of encouragement and protection to give them a really good head start. I put some straw over them and then covered it with an old Victorian Rhubarb forcer. That will keep those pesky hens away!
I won’t try forcing them for too long as it does weaken the whole plant and l lost one crown a few years ago due to this.
See also Brandy Carr Nurseries who have a very comprehensive list of varieties to grow and other information on rhubarb.
Other advice comes from February’s edition of ‘Allotment & Garden Guide’ 1942 – advising you to divide old roots at this time of the year into well-manured ground. (see Wartime Advice).
Has anyone had any success doing this to their Rhubarb crowns?