Friday, May 15, 2009


Rhubarb is such a nostalgic fruit for me. As a child it was served up in crumbles, stewed with apples or made into pies. The gorgeous crimson stems added a lovely colour to our deserts.

In my garden I have 4 rhubarb plants growing. This is their first year and I have been told by an old seasoned gardener that I should let them grow and become established for a year before harvesting any. The leaves are poisonous although that hasn't stopped the bugs chewing at them - maybe they are dead bugs now. Oxalic acid is in the leaves and that is the poison. My dad tells me if he had a mouse problem in the compost he would put a few rhubarb leaves in there with peanut butter smeared on them. The mice would be attracted to the peanut butter and nibble the leaves and die.
The leaves can be steeped in a bin full of water and then the resulting liquid used as a deterrent for cabbage white butterflies. I haven't tried this but I have been told it seems to work and it smells bad!
The stalks on three of the plants are thick and long and the leaves huge. These three are planted in a shady area of the yard which only recieves a few hours of sunlight a day at this time of the year. They seem to be very happy there amongst the nasturtiums and the little olive trees. The other plant is up near my raised vege patch and is in full sunlight. It is not as happy nor as healthy looking.

I am looking for forward to my rhubarb getting big enough to use - I don't think I will be waiting a year though.
Then I will be trying out a few of the recipes from the link below. Rhubard jam and chutney sounds delicious.
M xx


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on the mice - might have to give it a go.

Don't wait a year for your rhubarb, pick the outer stalks when it looks mature enough.

We tried to wait the full year and then lost our rhubarb totally!

greenfumb said...

How interesting, I also have my rhubarb in the shade in the winter and it seems ok but I always wondered if it would be better in the sun. The tip about the white butterflies might be useful too, I have resorted to mosquito nets to get a crop of broccoli. Thx

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