Two days ago snow and hard freeze overnight, and now 70 degrees! I am growing rhubarb for the first time ever, and I see how the leaves grow but does it ever flower? I have a different type of stalk coming up. What do I do with this? Also- do I need to not cut it this first year – like asparagus?
And on the freezing weather — I have flowers in pots on my patio — if we are going to get a cold night, is it better to leave the pots dry or water them well during the day (in addition to covering the pots at night)? We had lows in the 50s two weeks ago and in the 20s this week. My plants are confused!
Love your column and the green chile is growing!
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Sounds like you have weird weather too. The different type of stalk coming up out of your rhubarb is the flowering stalk. It’s got an oval, whitish, pointed “ball” at the end of a hollow stalk. Cut this off to provide more strength to the plant. Don’t harvest any this year but next year you can begin lightly harvesting stalks. Again, keep those flowering stalks cut off so the plant doesn’t figure it’s done and quit producing edible stalks. Once the plant reaches summer, let it produce flowers and seeds. (You can raise rhubarb from those seeds but it does take three to four years before you’ll begin getting a decent harvest.)
As to your patio plants, just keep them watered as needed; it really doesn’t affect chilling on cold nights. Just be sure they’re well covered or brought inside if the temps dip below 30 degrees. They can freeze even if covered, should it get cold enough and you can’t trust the weather forecast. Bad surprises happen.
Mmm green chile! — Jackie
Zone 3 apricots
I noticed you found zone 3 apricots. I planted apricots that were sold for my zone, but never get anything as they bloom too early and the weather gets them before they set fruit. What were your tree’s name?
Our new apricots are Scout (a Manchurian selection with larger fruit) and Brookcot (from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). Scout does bloom fairly early but Brookcot later on. You might try Adirondack Gold, sold by St. Lawrence Nurseries as this Manchurian selection blooms later in the spring and will often produce fruit in Zone 3. We now have three of them and harvested our first few apricots last summer. — Jackie