This is rhubarb ready to be harvested; you can be sure that we had a delicious rhubarb crumble for tea last night! The reason that the rhubarb sticks in the forcer are so much taller and brighter coloured than the rhubarb in the open ground is that it has been stretching to reach the light. Also, without light chlorophyll can’t develop in the leaves so there is no green to mask the bright red of the stalk or the yellow in the leaves. Rhubarb is a very low maintenance crop to grow. Even if children don’t cook it in school they might be able to sell it to their families. I have also heard that the roots make a great natural dye ……more of this in a future post.
However, of more interest to me at the moment is the way that it can be forced. The same has happened to the rhubarb as happened to the grass which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.
And also happened to these seedlings which I put in the airing cupboard to germinate but forgot to take out straight away.
Encouraging children to talk about what has happened in all of these instances and why the plants are so pale and ‘stretched’ (the scientific term is etiolated) would be a great way to assess their understanding of what plants need to be healthy and why. It would also help to reinforce the message that rhubarb and grass are plants too! So often children think that plants include flowering herbaceous plants but forget that vegetables, trees and grass are plants too.