Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rhubard - the quintessential Canadian fruit, er, vegetable

I've got to admit that eating Rhubard pie is one of the highlights of Spring for me.  Even as a child I used to wait with delight for the first crop to be ready for harvest.  We made pies and cottage pudding - a type of upside down dish that was a family favourite.  Now I love it stewed, especially on jello!

The yummy delight of a tart,  fresh rhubarb pie!
I have it planted by the doors of my garden shed and it looks so pretty with its deeply ruffled leaves and bright red stalks.  My rhizomes came from my mother- in-law and it's the best rhubarb I have ever tasted.  It's an ever bearing variety.  The first flush of stalks in the spring are the best, but it continues to bear almost all summer if you keep removing the flower stalks.

Many of my garden customers want to keep a spot in their flower gardens for 'grandmother's rhubarb'. It seems to be one of those plants that have a strong sentimental value, - the other is peonies.  Maybe because those plants live so long.

 To divide rhubarb, dig the root mass and divide the crown between buds or eyes, into pieces about 2" long, with roots attached. You can divide in spring or fall, but it’s easier in spring, when the plant is coming out of dormancy and growing new roots.