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Plant rhubarb crowns

21 November 2014

Plant rhubarb crowns now and you'll give them all winter to establish before they burst into growth again next spring.

You'll find plenty of choice varieties on sale now in your garden centre; 'Victoria' is a time-honoured favourite, while 'Timperley Early' is always first to produce a harvest. If you want to try forcing your rhubarb, 'Stockbridge Arrow' is a good performer, while ''The Sutton' is prized for its rich, sweet flavour.

Rhubarb grows well in sun or part shade and its only real must-have is a reasonably free-draining soil as crowns can rot if they get too waterlogged. Prepare the ground well, as it's a long-lived crop: dig in lots of well-rotted farmyard manure or compost and remove weeds (especially persistent perennial weeds like bindweed or ground elder).

Bury the crowns so the tip is just visible above the soil, water in and leave it to grow. You'll see new stems emerging from early spring, but don't pick them in the first year as the plant needs time to get its roots down. You can take a few the second year, then from year three onwards pick as much as you like for scrumptious rhubarb pies, fools and crumbles for years to come.

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