Monday, 4 November 2013

Dig for Victory #5: Crowning Glory

I have been putting off getting to grips with the garden for some time, and the dire weather we have been having has been a brilliant excuse. However, the arrival of some Rhubarb crowns from Thompson and Morgan, and some sunshine, convinced me, the King, and Prima to get our wellies on (nothing would part Secundus from his Lego this morning). 

An anonymous shrub has sprung up this past eighteen months in the corner of one of the raised beds and has overpowered the nearby rowan sapling. We have not been able to identify the shrub, and it has neither flowered nor fruited; today, we decided, it had to go. That was the King's job, with saw and spade. Once it had been cleared out, a lot more light was let in to that side of the garden.

Prima weeded around the strawberry plants and was happy to see lots of worms in the soil, which she enjoyed "rescuing" and placing in her "worm hospital", while I harvested the last of the courgettes and pulled up the old plants for the composter. 

I found the sunniest position I could for the "Champagne" rhubarb crowns, cleared all weeds, and dug in some well rotted compost since I didn't have any stable manure. Reading the leaflet Thompson and Morgan sent me with my crowns, I noted not to pull any "sticks" until the following year after planting. 

From The Farm Blog HopI didn't go online until writing this blog post and at that point I saw that their website advises to set the budded pieces so that the top of the crown sits 3cm (1") below soil level and allow a spacing of 75cm (30") between plants (unfortunately this wasn't included in the leaflet so I may have put them too close together). If the weather is alright tomorrow, perhaps I should dig up the second crown and move it further away. There is also a section on rhubarb aftercare on the website, which I must take note of during the first year and when harvesting in April or June of the second year (fingers crossed).

The garden has always had to work hard for us. It is a place to dry washing, split logs, hung bunting, store firewood, eat meals, play, store recylable materials and grow food. Today, on an unexpetedly sunny November morning, this little outdoor space did wonders for our souls as well.

3 comments:

  1. I planted some rhubarb last year too, it grew really well, and got big. I was tempted to cut some but didn't, but next spring I will definitely try some!

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  2. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait, Hannah. Sometimes it's really hard to be patient in the garden!

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  3. I’ve found that rhubarb is a very tough and forgiving plant – my in-laws gave me 3 of their plants a few years ago and every summer they practically turn into triffids (the rhubarb that is, not the in-laws...). I didn’t have any instructions and, like you, planted them very close together. They get on quite well, so I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. This year I had rhubarb coming out of my ears and, even after giving loads of it away to friends, neighbours and my dad, I’ve still got a couple of batches in the freezer! I’m a very mean gardener – can’t be doing with namby-pamby plants, so they have to be tough to survive in my parched soil. I do water the rhubarb and cut off any flowers that grow, other than that, I do nothing but pick it and eat it.

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