Rhubarb

Brandy Carr Nurseries

Family growers since 1870

Brandy Carr Road, Kirkhamgate, Wakefield

.

.


  • Fruit Plants
  • Vegetable Plants
  • Liquorice Plants
  • Rhubarb Crowns/Plants

    GROWING LIQUORICE  RHUBARB RECIPES   LIQUORICE RECIPES
       

CONTACT DETAILS

   Tel: 01924 291511 or 07802 496364

 

Brandy Carr Nurseries

Family growers since 1870

Producers of Yorkshire Rhubarb and Yorkshire Liquorice plants. We hold the largest collection of rhubarb varieties, both culinary and ornamental, in West Yorkshire.

Rhubarb

Growing Rhubarb

Rhubarb is not a difficult or expensive plant to grow in the garden. It is an ideal choice for the first time vegetable grower. It is a hardy perennial plant. It becomes dormant during cold or very hot weather.
If the rhubarb is grown for a specific purpose it is recommended that rhubarb is grown from one year old plants or crowns. It can be grown from seed but this takes a long time and generally does not grow true to type. Growing from an established plant guarantees the variety and its purpose.

Planting
The crown or root should be planted during autumn and spring. They require planting about 1m (3 feet) apart to prevent crowding and to allow the plant to establish a large root system.

Soil
Rhubarb grows best in well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. It is happy in an acid soil.
Before planting work plenty of rotted manure or compost into the soil to enrich it. Dig a hole slightly bigger than the plant or crown. The top of the crown should sit just above the surface of the soil.

Care
During the first year after planting the stalks should not be picked as this can affect subsequent crops as it weakens the plant. The young plant needs to establish itself and form a strong healthy crown.
When seed stalks are produced by the plant it is advisable to cut these as the plant will put its energy in to seed production, rather than edible stalk production. These and the leaves can be composted safely in a home compost bin.
It is beneficial to an established plant to apply composted manure or leaves in autumn or early winter being careful not to cover the crowns, to prevent any rotting. One or two shovels full would be sufficient. Too much nitrogen can make the plant flower which is undesirable unless the rhubarb is ornamental variety.
Rhubarb is fairly pest and disease resistant. The only thing to watch for is rot; this can be avoided by planting in well drained soil and not burying under compost. If rot is caught early the rotten piece of root can be cut away and replant the rest. This will hopefully save the plant. 
 

 Propagating
Every 4 to 5 years you will need to dig up the crown to either trim it down to 4 or 5 buds or divide it to create more plants. Select pieces that have buds showing and these should have more success than a piece without. This division should be done between November and March while the plant is dormant. It is possible to make up to 6 plants from one well grown crown, depending on the variety chosen. In most cases they will not all grow but it is worth having a go at propagating your own plants.

Liquorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra

Sweet liquorice is a member of the pea family. It is native to south­eastern Europe and south-west Asia. The Greek name Glycyrrhiza translates as sweet root.
The plants are graceful, presenting a feathery appearance from a distance. Attractive blue flowers develop in late summer. It grows to a height of between 1.5 metres and 2 metres with a spread of 1 metre.

Planting
Liquorice will grow in any well drained soil, but grows best on sandy soil near streams. It will not flourish on clay, preferring rich fine soil with an abundance of moisture during the growing period, where the ground bakes hard during late summer. It thrives in a sunny position.
Any stones must be removed as roots can grow up to 4 metres in length if not harvested. The roots are double, a tap root and horizontal rhizomes. These rhizomes throw up stems with leaf buds in their second year.
Harvesting

English liquorice is harvested in late autumn and is mainly used to make extract. It is bright yellowish brown and is flexible, easily cut with a knife to show a yellow juicy substance. It has a peculiar earthy odour and a sweet flavour.
When harvesting the liquorice root the plants are dug up and the roots cut away from the crown. The crowns are then stored in slightly moist compost and put in a cool dark place. In spring the crown can be planted out after all risk of frost has past.

Liquorice uses
Liquorice has various uses. The most well known is in the making of confectionery, the most famous being Pontefract Cakes. The other is using the hard red seeds to make prayer beads. In India they are used to weigh gold, under the name of Rati. They weigh about a carat each.
Most liquorice used today is imported from Southern Europe or South Eastern Asia. The largest country to export to England being Turkey. Russia also grows liquorice, but it is of an unacceptable quality to the English confectionery industry.
The English liquorice growing industry has declined due to the costs involved; an acre of land will produce 4 or 5 tonnes of liquorice from 4 year old plants. It is a labour intensive crop.   

     

Comments are closed.