To be honest, I've never been keen on the idea of forcing rhubarb. It just sounds so.. well, forced, or aggressive whereas I prefer to grow my veg and fruit with love and by using peaceful methods, haha. We inherited two big crowns of rhubarb when we took over our plot and shortly after we were given a smaller crown to add to our rhubarb bench. With the exception of tidying up the weeds, removing old leaves and giving some manure to the crowns at early spring, we have left the rhubarb to its own devices to crop naturally and we've always had plenty. I'm already looking forward to making rhubarb and strawberry jam and rhubarb syrup again this year.
Recently, however, I've heard quite a lot about the advantages of forcing rhubarb and have thus become intrigued trying this technique to produce more tender and sweeter stems. Of course, I wouldn't mind being able to pick the first rhubarb 2 to 3 weeks earlier than otherwise during a time when there is lack of harvestable produce at the allotment.
Therefore, this year, I decided to have a go at forcing one of our crowns. I believe this is what is recommended generally, so that you can alternate between crowns and no single crown is forced two years in a row.
My plan was to go to the allotment today with this little project in mind, but it was not meant to be: the on -off showers kept me away from there. Come to think of it, the large plastic bucket I had ear marked for forcing rhubarb would most likely fly away with these winds. Luckily, it's not too late to force rhubarb yet, so I will get back to this project next month. Who knows, maybe by then we could've had more exposure to colder weather which the rhubarb needs before shooting.
Have you forced rhubarb with good results or do you let the rhubarb do its own thing?
Mrs V x
Photos are from last year, at different stages of rhubarb's life.