Post 397: rhubarb

I’m driving a veteran to an out-of-town surgery appointment tomorrow morning, so you get two posts today.

I stepped outside my back door this morning to find my mint, peppermint, chives, and rhubarb all growing like proverbial weeds. I should have checked earlier, in April, because the rhubarb always is best earlier in the season. The others will be fine when I get to them!

The rhubarb, though, I decided to pick and make into a simple sauce. I like that, it’s less caloric than rhubarb custard pie (which I make with a meringue top…!), and simple to make. It’s in the refrigerator now, and I’ll have some when it is nicely chilled.

Selfie with rhubarb. Yep, there I am again wearing a red shirt! It's one of those Nebraska things.

Selfie with rhubarb. Yep, there I am again wearing a red shirt! It’s one of those Nebraska things.

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6 thoughts on “Post 397: rhubarb

    • See above…! I try to enjoy it all summer long, but have to beat the weed whackers. At the house, we had a rhubarb patch that was two rows deeps and a good 25 long. We had so much rhubarb, we shared regularly with a couple neighbors and still had so much we never used so much of it you could see any “bald” spots where it was over picked. That rhubarb was dug out and tossed by the new owners. Had I known they were unappreciative of what was there, I would have saved a few plants before we sold the house. It was heirloom rhubarb that produced four foot stalks that stayed usable, didn’t get woody as long as you carefully selected stalks and kept up with them. three stalks made a pie and a couple cups of sauce.

      • I was very good with vegetables because I worked organic materials into the soil each season.

        I started with tired clay soil, and ended up with something so loamy and nice I barely had to work to till it. In fact, after I survived Wegener’s granulomatosis in 2004 and was very weakened, I was able to use a garden fork to deep dig the soil by simply leaning on the top of the handle. The tines went in with little effort!

        I didn’t have a great garden that year because I wasn’t able to do the whole garden, but I got nice tomatoes at least.

        The big secret to a good garden, of course, is soil preparation: if the soil is loamy and rich with organic material (I recycled yard waste like grass and tree leaves mainly), and only organic enhancers are added (chicken manure, for example, for plants that needed that sort of thing), pests and weeds made minimal inroad and the effort to till was minimized.

        For that matter, I kind of liked the weeds because they helped lock in the moisture. I walked on them, so they helped create paths that also held moisture in and kept muddiness down.

        I tried to follow the principles set down in Organic Gardening magazine and the Rodale family. That largely made a difference in quality and yield even in my smallish garden. If the garden spaces looked a bit rough (except for the lovely healthy vegetables and companion flowers), they were vibrant, alive places for herb and food production.

        I cringe at people who over-weed gardens and under-feed the soil, which doesn’t want Miracle-Gro as much as it wants lovely compost and organic materials! Worms aerate the soil, leave their castings, but they can’t thrive in fertilizer, nor can the nematodes that help build the good soil.

        Oh yeah. I almost forgot. I also planted flowers and things like mint and dill that attract in pollinators or lovely butterflies like the tiger swallowtail.

  1. Great shot of yourself and your freshly picked rhubarb.
    Your garden sounds wonderful and sounds like you are going to have a wonder bounty from it.
    How do you make your rhubarb into the simple sauce?

    • There isn’t much in my garden. Unfortunately, the soil stinks and I don’t have the physical capability anymore to do double-digging, composing, and all the things that help turn crap, dead soil into lovely, rich loamy garden soil. I’m a renter, and there are periodic clean-up sweeps through the planting around the units that, in past, resulted in idiots on weed whackers actually whacking down tomato plants and my herb garden. When I barely have the energy and physical strength to put stuff in the ground in the first place, this destruction of my small efforts leaves me very stressed, to say the least. The survivors are of the mint family (of course) and well-established plants like rhubarb, which they weed whacked last year to my utter amazement..

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