What Happens to Rhubarb Plants in Winter ?
Rhubarb Plants seem to vanish in the Winter but ... they are just resting.
I grow lots of rhubarb as I like to cook with it when it is in season and it is poplar with friends.
Here are a few tips for those new to raising rhubarb in their garden.
- It is a good idea to apply a mulch of compost or well rotted horse manure around your rhubarb plants in the autumn.
- Frost will not harm your rhubarb plants as it is said cold weather is important to the plant as it goes into a dormant period. Some people say it helps to improve the flavour and the size of the crop.
- If you have sandy soil you will need to enrich it with well rotted horse muck or compost before planting your rhubarb crowns.
In Autumn you will notice the leaves and stalks of the rhubarb plant withering and dying off this is normal. It can be a good idea to mark where the plants are with a marker - as they will be difficult to see until the the new foliage begins to grow next spring.
This is also important if you intend to force your rhubarb later to produce an early crop at a time when the shop prices are at their highest.
To force rhubarb, you can either cover it up with an expensive specially made rhubarb forcer. The alternative is to cover it with a large bucket or black dustbin, you may need to weigh it down in some way as in windy weather in may not stay in place.
Forced rhubarb is ready sooner to crop and eat then the uncovered rhubarb plants.
Try not to repeat the forcing process next year with the same plants as they will be better if you rest them from this process.
Forced rhubarb will produce paler and more delicately flavoured and textured stems/sticks of rhubarb.
Your forced rhubarb will be available earlier so will extend the cropping time and also you will be able to harvest when the price in the shops is at a premium/ its highest.