It is not enough to give it depth of good soil but it must be watered in drought, and in winter must be well covered with straw or dung. If this be attended to your rhubarb will be solid when taken out of The ground, and your kitchen, if a warm one, will soon fit it for use.
Cover plants of the rheum hybridum with common gardenpots (number twelve), having their holes stopped. These are covered with fermenting dung and the plants come very fine and quickly, but are much broken by The sides and tops of the pots. After it is all well up the dung and pots are entirely taken off and large hand-glasses are substituted in their stead, thickly covered with mats every night and in dull weather. This process greatly improves their flavor, and gives a regular supply till that in the open air is ready for use.
Inclose and cover The bed with open framework, around and on which place The dung, and with this treatment the rhubarb will come up very regularly, be of excellent quality and want far less attention than is required by the former method, for the frame-work renders hand-glasses or any other cover unnecessary. Care should be taken to lay the dung in such a manner that the top may be partly or wholly taken off at any time for the purpose of gathering or examination without disturbing the sides.
This is a superior method of forcing the rheum hybridum, but still the forcing by pots will answer very well for any of the smaller growing species.
To those who dislike the trouble of either frames or pots, it may be useful to know that rhubarb will come in much quicker by being covered about six inches thick with light litter; care should be taken in putting it on and removing it that no injury be done to the plants.
The best method of drying rhubarb is to strip it off its epidermis. This is a long operation, but both time and expense are spared in the end by the promptness and regularity of the drying.
Many cultivators of rhubarb on a large scale have repeated the experiment and have met with the most decisive results.
The method of curing the true rhubarb is as follows: Take the roots up when the stalks are withering or dying away, clean them from the earth with a dry brush, cut them in small pieces of about four or five inches in breadth and about two in depth, taking away all the bark, and make a hole in the middle and string them on pack thread, keeping every piece apart, and every morning, if the weather is fine, place them in the open part of the garden on stages erected by placing small posts about six feet high in the ground and six feet asunder, into which fix horizontal pegs about a foot apart, beginning at the top, and the rhubarb being sprung crosswise on small poles, place them on these pegs, so that if it should rain you could easily remove each pole with the suspended pieces into any covered place. Never suffer them to be out at night, as the damp moulds them.
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