Friday, March 28, 2008


I will soon be having the first picking of the season! Rhubarb is very tolerant of cold weather and in fact does need the cold to trigger stem growth. It does not like temperatures over 30 degrees centigrade so it does well in the British climate! I manage to grow several plants in a very small raised bed.

Did you know Rhubarb was first recorded in China in 2700BC, for centuries it was imported for medicinal use as a purgative. Apparently in small doses the powdered root would stimulate the appetite and cure dysentery. It wasn't until 1778 in France that it was mentioned as being eaten for pleasure! Access to sugar from the West Indies soon made it a palatable dish in Britain. Then by 1860 when Mrs Beaton published her 'Book of Household Management' it was being used for pies, jam and wine in many households.

The leaves are dangerous and should not be eaten as they contain oxalic acid; however, this can be made into a safe control for aphids, particularly for roses.


Cut 1 lb rhubarb leaves, place in an old saucepan with 2pts (1.1 litres) of water and boil for half an hour, topping up as necessary.
When cool, add 1 dessertspoon of soap flakes dissolved in 1/2pt (275ml) of warm water.
Stir thoroughly and use undiluted as a spray.

I don't have roses but I have other plants that suffer from aphids so I'm going give this a try.

2007: My dilema

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At 28/3/08 19:27, Blogger Kaytabug said...

I absolutely LOVE Rhubarb!! Thank you so much for the history lesson, the only thing I know about rhubarb is that I love to eat it! Thanks as well for the recipe, I have roses. I will have to give this a try!!

At 28/3/08 19:54, Blogger john.g. said...

Well done Mrs. B.!

I like rhubarb.

At 28/3/08 20:37, Blogger elena jane said...

i've never had rhubarb though my friend loves it and regales me with stories of eating pies and all sorts made with it when she was growing up!! :)

At 28/3/08 21:19, Blogger Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Mmmmmm...Rhubarb Crumble and custard. Hard to beat that as a dessert!

At 28/3/08 22:48, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

No vinegar in this aphid spray?

At 28/3/08 23:42, Blogger Barbara said...

I love rhubarb baked with a little sugar.

At 29/3/08 00:02, Blogger the mother of this lot said...

I uite fancy a rhubarb crumble now!

At 29/3/08 02:55, Anonymous Karmyn R said...

I love rhubarb. And now am going to love it even more if this recipe works!!!

We don't have a huge aphid problem, but I do try and grow broccoli in my garden and I this would be MUCH better than spraying insecticide.

At 29/3/08 03:31, Blogger Sandy said...

Terrific post! I love rhubarb and am just planting new roses, too.

Thank you so much for this.

At 29/3/08 06:29, Blogger bermudabluez said...

I don't have anything growing right now....but in the summer my rhubarb plants go absolutely CRAZY in my garden at the cottage! We don't even eat it, I just keep cutting it back and it keeps right on growing and growing and growing!! The leaves are just is a pretty plant. Thanks for the tip on the aphid spray...I will have to give that a try!

At 29/3/08 06:51, Blogger Pamela said...

thanks for the tip about aphids. I hope it doesn't hurt the birds????

At 29/3/08 07:14, Blogger katy said...

mmm Rhubarb, do you remember having a stick of rhubarb and a bag of sugar?

At 29/3/08 08:23, Blogger ChrisB said...

elena jane if you get the chance I would give it a try like angela says rhubarb crumble and custard is so good.

jeanne shame on you all that rhubarb going to waste I wish I lived near I would help you out with it~ it freezes quite well!!

katy I never tried that!

pamela my stepfather used to use a spray that didn't involve rhubarb but was very effective it involve 'urine' he grew brilliant flowers!

At 29/3/08 10:05, Blogger Beccy said...

I never knew Gordon did that!

I hope my rhubarb supplier gives me some soon I just fancy a rhubarb crumble.

At 29/3/08 17:03, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rhubarb looks awesome!! Hopefully we'll grow some this year!

At 29/3/08 17:15, Blogger kitten said...

They say you are never to old to learn! And I learned something today!
Thank You!

At 30/3/08 02:48, Blogger lisa marie said...

I bet a bunny would love that! I love the photo, but you can eat it. :)

At 30/3/08 04:23, Blogger Alison said...

Chris..let me know if your concoction works on the aphids please!!!


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