One of the earliest rhubarb varieties which can be ready outside as early as February. It is also suitable for forcing if you want to produce an even earlier crop and will provide you with succulent, red-based pink stems with a delicious flavour excellent for making pies, jams and wine.
Height & Spread:
Forms clump of large leaves up to 75cm high.
Full sun in any fertile, well-drained soil.
Prepare the bed well by removing weeds and digging in composted manure, and plant the crowns at intervals of 75cm - 1m, making sure the dormant buds are just below the surface of the soil.
Keep well watered and in spring apply a dressing of composted manure, making sure you avoid covering the crown of the plant. Sulphate of ammonia can be applied in summer. It is important that the stalks are not harvested in their first year as this will adversely affect the plants vigour, but cut any old, yellow leaves off after they have faded and remove all the leaves after they have died back in autumn. You should also remove any flowering stalks which appear. In the second year, you may start to harvest some of the stems, but restrict yourself to between a third and a half of the total crop, leaving the rest to mature on the plant. In subsequent years, stems can be harvested from late spring up until mid to late summer, although the stems tend to become tougher and less tatsy towards the end of the season. Allowing some late-developing stems to develop fully will also help the plant generate more energy for the following years crop.
If you want an early (usually more tender) crop of rhubarb, you can 'force' some early varieties - 'Timperley Early' is the best for this. Simply cover a healthy crown in mid-winter with a rhubarb forcer or tall bucket. This can be insulated (which will speed up the process even more), by packing some straw or compost around the outside of the lower part of the forcer. The shoots will soon appear and these should be harvested within 2 - 4 weeks. A crown that has been forced, should be allowed to produce its crop naturally in the following year.
Supplied in 3 litre pot.