Friday, 7 May 2010

Imperfect timing and eau de rhubarb

Everything is late this year. It's official. Late spring, late sowing of seeds, transplanting, flowering. That long winter has a lot to answer for.  And we're experiencing some pretty brisk temperatures again this past week. Consequently, the at-work allotment is looking a little skimpy and the turnout for seed sowing has been thin - unseasonal weather and too many meetings sometimes get in the way. But one thing it hasn't affected is the rhubarb.
Rhubarb is a perennial veg and as such is quite low maintenance. You just have to be patient.  We planted a crown, (a perfect name for this quite regal vegetable) almost 18 months ago and I watched tantalisingly as it established through last summer - you're not supposed to pull the stalks until its second year of growth. But I popped into the allotment on election day, on my way home to vote, just see how things were doing and give things a water. The rhubarb is looking splendid, all lush leaves and pink stalks. I plucked four or five and had an intoxicating ride home with the glorious scent of fresh stalks wafting from my bicycle basket. It's my new favourite smell - better than freshly mown grass. And the resulting crumble was outstanding; husband gave it a rave review.

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