Forcing rhubarb and first seeds sown

Rhubarb Forcing

Both rhubarb varieties seem to be doing well – the Stockbridge Arrow is lagging slightly behind the Champagne but that may help to spread out the (limited) harvest. I don’t want to force these excessively in case the plants suffer as a result so I won’t be picking too much from each plant.

I’ve never forced rhubarb before so I used a couple of spare plant pots as covers on the new growth but in future I may go for something taller. Luckily the pots have worked very well so far this year but as the new growth develops there is not enough space so I will soon be faced with a choice – harvest them as shorter stems or find something taller so they can develop a little more height.

As I’m impatient to see whether this rhubarb tastes any better, my current preference is to pick them sooner rather than later!

Champagne Rhubarb
Champagne Rhubarb


Stockbridge Arrow Rhubarb
Stockbridge Arrow Rhubarb

First seeds sown

Last weekend I decided that I had waited long enough and it was time to sow some of the vegetable seeds indoors. Nothing too delicate yet because there will be a few weeks yet before I can be certain of the weather improving.

This year I’m using bags of a dedicated seed compost for seed sowing and for this first batch I carefully sieved it when filling the trays or tubes. I doubt that the sieving is really necessary but when I sow more in 2-3 weeks time perhaps I’ll skip the sieving just to see what difference that makes (if any).

I had planned to put all the covered seed trays on to window sills in the living room and kitchen but apparently this approach does not meet with full approval from my better half. Luckily I eventually realised that the loft room would be perfectly suitable for the early stages as it gets most of the heat from the house plus the sky lights should provide a decent amount of light.

Just a few standard vegetable varieties have been sown so far (leeks, carrots and red/green cabbage) but if I can get these underway successfully now then I should have some space and time for the more interesting varieties.

Once the weather warms up a bit more, it will be interesting to see how much success I can get with things like sweetcorn and courgettes (which I haven’t tried before)  and  also whether I have any luck with my second attempt at squash and parsnips when I can plant them at the right time of the year.

Raised Beds

This bout of seed sowing also finally prompted some action on building the last raised bed (for this year at least). The original plan was for something slightly more contrived but as the work progressed the plans changed and the completed set of 5 raised beds should be more than enough for now

The path edging needs to be put down and I’m still not sure what to use for the paths but perhaps the easy option would be to use wood chip for now as we have lots of leftover small branches from the trees that came down. If that doesn’t work it can always be used for mulch elsewhere and the paths covered with slate chips or similar instead.

Raised bed construction
Raised bed construction

One thought on “Forcing rhubarb and first seeds sown”

  1. I will be interested to see what happens with your carrots, they do not transplant well, neither do parsnips. When you come to plant courgettes and squashes plant the seed on it’s side. I would always pre- germinated large seeds to make sure they are viable, no point wasting potting compost and your time. Root trainers are great for things like leeks and cabbage also peas and beans, as they are deeper than seed trays and open up there is little if any root disturbance.

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