Tuesday 6 February 2024

D.T.Brown - Rhubarb Livingstone

OK not quite in my seed box but ordered for the plot 1 allotment in 2021. The growth during the first year was astounding although due to the weather some stalks did go to seed and had to be chopped off. 

By 2022 all three of the plants were in their own beds, when I received the plants, I only had two beds ready, and the third plant was squatting in Rhubarb Bed 1 for a while until I managed to get the third rhubarb bed ready. One does not take any stalks in the first year of growth and the goodness goes back into the plant and helps it establish.  
In 2022 I took about 40% of the stalks late in the season from two of the three plants and have made a number of Rhubarb crumbles, and I have to say I didn't have to add much sugar, as Rhubarb Livingstone is succulent and delicious and well worth the waiting until the second year before harvesting.  
In 2023 without the need of forcing one of the 3 plants to provide an early harvest, I had lots of Rhubarb between March and October. With my wife passing away in January 2023 I don't need as much Rhubarb now, so in 2024 I'm going to donate one of my Rhubarb plants to a plot neighbour.  

Below is the technical and sales blurb from the D.T.Brown Rhubarb Livingstone web page at the time of updating this post the cost for 3 x 9cm potted plants is £19.90 a saving of £9.95 if you are looking to add Rhubarb to your allotment plot or garden, I can wholeheartedly recommend Rhubarb Livingstone.  

Do you enjoy those bright red stems in early summer, but wish the season for sweet, young rhubarb could be longer?  If so, you will want to grow Livingstone which produces its succulent, delicious, stringless sticks from March to October. This outstanding, British-bred strain was achieved by eliminating the summer dormancy which causes rhubarb to stop cropping by the middle of summer. By the way, this breakthrough came about by conventional means and not by any form of genetic modification.

Livingstone really does yield a fine crop of high quality, red-skinned stems through the autumn months, extending the season for this much-loved fruit (well, vegetable actually!).

The disease-free plants will crop heavily once established.  Whether your favourite is rhubarb crumble, rhubarb pie or simply stewed and served with compulsory custard, Livingstone is the variety we have been waiting for.  Supplied in 9cm pots.

'Livingstone' is a compact variety to about 50cm with bright red stems. Unlike other rhubarb varieties, it does not have a dormant period in summer. The main cropping period is early to late autumn, though it can be cropped in summer if required

Sow Indoors
Sow / Plant Outdoors
Flowers / Harvest

How to grow

CultivationPlant crowns in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, from late autumn to early spring. Crowns can be cropped for ten or more years, though division may be necessary after about five years. Mulch in spring with a 7cm layer of well-rotted organic matter without burying the crowns, and apply a general fertiliser at 70g/sq m in spring or summer. Water during prolonged dry periods in summer. See rhubarb cultivation

PropagationLift crowns between autumn and early spring (usually in November). Use a spade to divide the crown into sections each retaining a portion of the rhizome (thickened root) and at least one growing point. Sections from the outer part are better than the centres of old plants. Discard any old or decayed parts of the crown. Replant straight away or wrap in damp sacking until ready to plant

Suggested planting locations and garden typesLow Maintenance Patio & Container Plants

How to care

PruningAllow the foliage to die back naturally in winter then cut away the old leaves to expose the growing points to winter cold

PestsAphidsslugs and snails may be problematic

DiseasesHoney fungus and a virus may be troublesome

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