The first rhubarb crumble! Three years in the making

At last. The Sunday is good weather this weekend. The forecast said Saturday was supposed to be good, but when I got up yesterday it was raining and didn’t really stop until the afternoon. But today, Sunday, was the best, driest, sunniest day we have had in a long time. Perfect for a visit to the allotment. A long visit as it turns out.

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I arrived at 9:30am, or there abouts.  Not too many people are around when I drive up in the car. I get a parking space right outside the front gate. That’s important because I am carrying a lot of plants today.

When I get inside there were a couple of my neighbours already digging on their plots – they had the same thoughts about this weekend as me. The day was perfect.

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The patch of land I had planned to dig needed a little work to remove the last of a small grassy area – something that had waited a year until I had time to get around to it. That took about 30 minutes – – then an hour of digging with the fork to loosen the earth. It wasn’t strenuous because of the effort from last year. The digging was fairly easy.

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Next, I marked out my lines for my potatoes. Four rows with ten seed potatoes in each row. Last year’s yield was around 10 potatoes per plant: possibly 400 potatoes from this small area if all goes to plan.

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Last year I dug down and then planted the seed potatoes in trenches. That worked well. Gradually covering them up and eventually mounding the earth on top encouraged the potato stem to grow longer – this in turn yielded more potatoes which grew off the main stem. Or at least that is the theory. It seems to work okay for me.

Eventually after about three hours, I had managed just three rows of potatoes. It was lunch time and a good excuse to go to the garden center. I had lunch there and got some new gloves and some kohlrabi seedlings. My experimental toilet roll propogators had only provided around 8 seedlings, and they looked weak. Possibly they will not survive.

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When I got back after lunch I finished off the last row of potatoes. The mounds will allow me to fill in the trenches and if I pile up the soil on the potatoes I should also be digging my next trenches in between the existing potato lines – ready for the next potato sets to go in later this year. That’s the plan here I think.

Next,  I started on the remaining beetroot and the kohlrabi seedlings. This was the easiest job of the day and only required some straight lines to get the job done.

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The church bells were now ringing 5pm.I had spent most of the day at the allotment and got a fair amount completed while the weather was nice. Around 5 or 6 hours today. I am now going to hope for some bad, rainy weather over the next few days to soak in the seedlings.

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Taking a look down the plot there are still a few spaces for my onions and I plan to grow peas and cucumbers, possibly some beans later in the year.

Then, as I was scanning over the allotment I took a closer look at the rhubarb. I had not paid any attention to the rhubarb until now. The stems of the main plant looked quite thick.

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So I snapped one off and cut the end off with my gardening knife. It tasted perfect! I pulled up a few more stems and then packed up for home.

It feels unusual for me to leave the allotment without any weeds – last year the main crop seemed to be just weeds and couch grass. The rhubarb was a genuine surprise.

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It got cleaned and cooked immediately when I got home.

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There are three rhubarb plants at the allotment but only one is ready for picking this year. The other two need at least another year to get established, maybe two years more.

But there should be more rhubarb on the way from this single plant before the season is over. I just need to keep my eyes open the next time I go to cover up the potato lines.

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