Friday, January 16, 2009


Northern gardeners may smile when they hear me talking about growing rhubarb. It was so easy when we lived in Canada. My freezer was stock full of rhubarb to tide us over the winter. Rhubarb crumble and rhubarb pie, yum yum. Growing up in England I developed a fondness for the tart fruits; blackcurrants, gooseberries and best of all rhubarb. My grandmother made rhubarb and ginger jam and rhubarb wine.
This fall, at the Master Gardeners' program on vegetable gardening I heard for the first time that in Texas we need to grow rhubarb as an annual. Imagine that. Not only that, but from seed. Impossible! Not. This rhubarb plant was grown from seed, sown in summer by Patty Leander, who gave the presentation and passed on some seedlings for me to try. Here's a link for other gardeners to read about growing rhubarb in Texas.
I'm so excited about how well it is doing. It has been getting special treatment on these cold nights; an extra thick blanket. I'm not about to risk any of those stalks. For now I'm going to wait until spring before I do any cutting.

Every morning for breakfast we have a wonderful Texas grapefruit. The skins have a second life in my garden. They are used to trap slugs, snails and pillbugs.( I learnt this one from my mother) It appears as though we have something else that likes grapefruit. I think it's the hispid cotton rats but it might also be the ring tailed cat. Most mornings I find them turned over and all the remaining fruit eaten.

Just as long as they don't go eating my Napa cabbage.


  1. Your Napa cabbage is gorgeous! Your rhubarb looks tasty, as well. My Canadian husband misses rhubarb and will want to know how it's grown in Texas!

    1. I am Canadian...i try to find Rhubarb inTX no avail..I had no Idea you could grow it here in TX.

  2. Man, that cabbage looks soooo good. I love growing salad greens. I've got to look into Napa cabbage. Have you eaten any of it yet? It looks like it would taste more like lettuce than cabbage.

  3. Rachel- Get down to Home Depot and snap up a few plants. Surprise you husband.
    Bob- It's the best. Use as a salad or a stir fry. I had it last night stir fried with ginger and garlic. It makes a wonderful coleslaw and throw it into soups. Renee posted a great recipe on her blog for Asian salad. I threw some seeds into an empty planter then transplanted them when they got bigger. We have eaten so much of it as I had about 50 plants. I am just starting some more in the greenhouse. Don't want to be without it.

  4. I'm so excited that there might be a way to grow rhubarb in Texas. We bought some lovely rhubarb and ginger jam at the National Trust gift shop at Powis Castle gardens last summer and saved it for Christmas breakfast. It did not disappoint.

    I've always told my Englishman, "No way can we grow rhubarb." I'm so thankful to be wrong.

  5. I grew up in Alaska and miss fresh Rhubarb pie with Vanilla Bean ice cream. I too was at that talk with Patty but didn't walk away with the seedlings...I"m glad to hear they worked for you! Maybe next year:)

  6. Our (strawberry-)rhubarb is 30 years old, so the previous owner tells me. And still going (far too) strong.
    BTW, you mean 'pulling' rather than 'cutting', don't you?
    Can't remember when I last cooked it, as it needs sugar.
    I find it strange that it has to be treated as an annual. Because of the heat?
    (w.v.: lure me)

  7. Your Nappa cabbage looks so delicious! I had totally forgotten about Gooseberries until you posted this. My mother and grandmother used to make gooseberry pie all the time.

  8. MSS- So are you going to have a go?
    CG- patty gave me some seed but I didn't get chance to sow it. I hope it will stay viable.
    Joco- You are right of course. Pulling is the correct thing to do. We used to go to the farm in Canada and pick it chop it and just throw it in the freezer. I have been buying frozen here and it is pretty good but I am looking forward to my own organic rhubarb. It is the heat that is the problem so come May out it comes.
    TM- When I go back to england I head straight to the pie shop for blackcurrant and gooseberry pies.

  9. Makes me want to find that Rhubarb Tart song sung by John Cleese.

  10. Katina- Ididn't remember :The Rhubarb Tart song" but I looked it up and there it is-all over the place. Look how Americanized I have become calling it pie and not tart. Of course I still call them jam tarts but mince pies!

  11. Rhubarb! I love it. Every time I visit Wisconsin, I make a huge pan of rhubarb bars. Last winter The Natural Gardener sold rhubarb roots, but I think they got them too late for a proper crop before it got hot. I was hoping they'd sell them again this year, but apparently not. I guess I'll just have to get over my seed-starting phobia and try Patty Leander's method.

  12. Thanks for the link to growing rhubarb in Austin!! I am from the Northwest and used to have rhubarb in my garden. I had no idea I could grow it here. I am so going to try this! I love me some fresh rhubarb pie ;)