Thursday, February 11

Not just a load of rhubarb

To complete my posts covering fruit performance last season I am going to start with something that technically isn't a fruit - rhubarb.
We started pulling sticks of rhubarb early in April. We never force our plants so some may think that is early. The secret to early picking is in the variety and Timperley Early is one of the first to produce stems. In fact ours is already producing new growth.
We picked the last stems in June as by this stage many other fruits were coming into production and we had frozen enough rhubarb for later in the winter.
We always leave plenty of stems on the plants which helps to keep the plants growing well.
This year we bought some roots of a new variety - Poulton's Pride. This variety is reputed to be the longest cropping rhubarb and should crop up to November. 

The three roots were potted up and gradually moved on to a large planter where they are building up strength until we decide where to plant them - if they seem to enjoy life on the container they may even stay there.
We have a well established grapevine - Himrod -in the garden greenhouse.
This needs a stern hand as if left to its own devices it would fill the greenhouse and beyond as it will quickly find an open window to escape from. In fact it has been known to head out of a roof vent and then scramble up a nearby tree.
As long as it is kept in check it provides useful shading should we have a hot and sunny summer and has the added benefit of reliably producing lots of sweet seedless green grapes.

We haven't weighed the harvest as we usually just pop up to the greenhouse to pick a bunch of grapes whenever we fancy.
The bunches are not of uniform shape as I long ago decided that pretty bunches of grapes were not worth a stiff neck and the collection of the removed grapes down the neck of whatever I was wearing.

As an experiment we planted a couple of vines - Madeline Sylvaner and Boskoop Glory - on the plot which although they have produced grapes these haven't swelled up to an edible size.
I think maybe we need to be a bit more ruthless when removing some of the bunches.

Finally tucked just inside the garden greenhouse in a large pot is out Brown Turkey fig. It isn't very large but does provide us with a few summer treats.
To be honest before we grew our own figs the nearest that I came to this fruit was in a fig biscuit.

Now I wonder if next year we will have more figs, will our allotment vines produce edible fruits and will we be pulling rhubarb in November? This grow your own lark certainly keeps you guessing doesn't it?



20 comments:

  1. Poulton's Pride looks interesting. I have recently bought a late cropper called Livingstone, which was building up its strength beautifully until one of my hens decided to defoliate it. It is now in the coldframe looking very sorry for itself. I will look into adding Poulton's Pride to my collection as there is no such thing as too much rhubarb.

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    1. So I'm guessing rhubarb leaves are not poisonous to hens. I once opverheard a new neighbour surveying their new garden and thinking the rhubarb was an ornamental plant.

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  2. I saw the rhubarb at Harlow Carr coming in to growth in December, I suppose because of the unseasonal weather. It's something I will miss from the plot, and my dad will too. I just don't have room to grow it here at the moment and when I tried growing it in a container a few years ago, it didn't do very well.

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    1. It;s a shame that you will be rhubarbless, Jo the bought stuff just isn't the same.

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  3. Gosh your fruit harvests are amazing. My only thought is how you manage to eat it all! Our Timperley Early has been growing for some weeks now, but I don't know what the present frosts will do to it. We love ours with pork. A friend mentioned a variety called Valentine and said it was held to be the sweetest available but I have not found it yet. Have you heard of it?

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    1. Rhubarb is quite hardy sweffling. In fact the growers around here complain if the winter hasn't been cold enough. Mr Fothergills sell Valentine click here

      We seem to manage to eat out fruit without a problem. WE do give some away too.

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    2. That's interesting! And thank you for the link to Mr Fothergill:)

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    3. Actually the link is not working but no problems, I'll go straight to the website myself. Thanks again.

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  4. Four of us are booked for a visit to a rhubarb farm next week!

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    1. I*s that the one Oldroyds at Carlton? I hope that you are not afraid of the dark.

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  5. I'd love to have a grape vine in the greenhouse, when we move it I think I shall plant one. x

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    1. Just remember not to let it have all its own way, Jo.

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  6. I had a black grape growing against a garage wall (can't remember the variety off the top of my head, but it was a well recommended one for outside). The vine grew really well, but no matter what we tried (cutting away surplus growth, removing bunches etc) it only produced tiny grapes. Finally the effort of dealing with a vigorous vine outweighed the benefits, as we were only eating some leaves (big leaves for stuffing & young shoots cooked as greens), and it hit the compost heap.

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    1. We just see it as something that we grow as a challenge S and D. Maybe if we have a really good summer it will produce something edible

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  7. Those figs are making my mouth water! They are not available very often around here and even when they are, they are very pricy. I would be more than happy with even a few fresh figs from the trees I purchased last year...as you say it's a guessing game as to how long (if ever) it will be.

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    1. Figs are attractive plants, Margaret and any fruit is a bonus.

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  8. I have vines on my allotment but the fruits have never plumped up enough to eat although they keep the birds happy and are a great fence between my plot and the next. I don't have a fig tree...does it have to be grown in a greenhouse?? What do you do with the figs??

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    1. You can grow fig outdoors Tanya, We just eat them as part of our many fruit salads.

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  9. I like the sound of Poulton's Pride. What a clever name for Rhubarb. Pull tons pride. Now that is easy to remember. Our 4 Rhubarbs are only showing about an inch of growth. They must be lacking something ?

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    1. It was given the name after Poulton-le-Fylde where the growers are based, Marion. I wouldn't worry about your rhubarb as it is probably a later growing variety,

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