GLASKINS PERPETUAL RHUBARB (Rheum rhabarbarum) is an English heirloom variety, first listed in 1920, that can actually be harvested in its first year. Easy to grow, it produces long greenish red, tart and tender stems (which are edible) with ruffled green leaves (which are toxic). Glaskins is said to be lower in oxalic acid than many other varieties and is an excellent variety for forcing -- a popular way to enjoy this fine fruit in wintertime and practiced as a gardening art by the Victorians. The stems make a delicious pie, especially when combined with a sweet fruit such as strawberry. Or a superb sauce or chutney. And rhubarb wine is said to be as exquisite! Once established, this plant will become a prized treasure of your garden and a beautiful ornamental as well. Very easy to start from seed. 10 Seeds.
ABOUT RHUBARB: Once scorned as an edible, rhubarb was a prized medicinal, the dried roots used in the treatment of venereal disease and as a laxative. Although the leaves are quite toxic, the colorful stems are not, and that is the portion that Victorians eventually accepted as a delicious edible. It was popular in that time to lift the plant and put in forcing sheds to enjoy in the winter.
GROWING TIPS: Patience, patience, patience. They will germinate quickly and look gorgeous, but rushing these to the garden is a disaster. Start seeds in the spring and transplant into progressively larger pots before you transplant into a deeply cultivated, richly augmented protected corner of your garden. Do not rush to transplant as it will succumb. You can even hold it for transplant until the following spring, provided you have potted up to a deep enough pot. Do not pick any of the leaves/stems until the second year, you can pick a few by gently grasping at the base and tugging. The third year you will be able to harvest more, but never empty the plant. Side-dress annually with compost and green manure tea.