Chance of frost?!

That’s what the weather people said earlier in the week, but I think we might be spared, but just. The weekend weather is not pleasant with below seasonal temperatures, rain, and heavy winds. Today’s high is 11 Celsius, and tomorrow is 7. The overnight temperatures are dipping down to 1 and 3 Celsius respectively. Frost is an issue, but I’m very hopeful that it won’t occur in the city; however the high winds is concerning. The gusts are up to 54 km. This is why I normally wouldn’t transplant outdoors until the third weekend in May.

In order to protect my little seedlings, I inserted the small tomato cages and used the saved soil bags to cover them. Hubs suggested we move the plants closer to the house, where they would have a little more wind protection. This was all done at midnight, after I reviewed the weather – showers overnight and SE wind gusts up to 44 km. I brought the greenhouse indoors, as well as the plants that have not yet been transplanted. The figs were all move indoors. I feel sad for my neighbour’s fig tree. It’s really getting blown around.

We did have a few minutes of bright sunshine. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of my mystery tulips. I really can’t recall planting bulbs last fall, but I must have because I have tulips.

dainty-tulips

I also have a tulip from last year that popped up on the lawn. I’m guessing a squirrel dug up the bulb and moved it.

tulip

In addition to the tulips, my rhubarb is doing really well. I was not sure what would happen to it. It was purchased in mid-late June 2015, when I picked up the pineapple sage plant at Home Depot or Canadian Tire. Neither were looking amazing, as it was later in the season, but the pineapple sage plant really thrived, and even flowered. The rhubarb didn’t seem to be doing much. It wasn’t looking worse, but it didn’t seem to be growing either. And then winter came. The spot where it is planted only gets some morning sun, and the soil isn’t great. I wasn’t expecting much good to happen, but it sprung to life this Spring. This is what it looked like on April 23. I noticed this curious bulge near the base of the plant. You can just see a glimpse of it. Was it flowering already?

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Here on May 8, the bulge is much more visible.

rhubarb-0508

I decided to Google flowering rhubarb, and learned that rhubarb can flower for different reasons which include, stress, heat, age, and variety. I ruled out age because when I bought it last year, it was quite small, in a 6-inch diameter pot, so it had to be young. Maybe stress, since the soil conditions are not great (clay-based), and we had a strange winter and spring (warm, cold, warm). Luckily I kept the tag, identifying my rhubarb as Victoria. If you Google Victoria rhubarb, the first thing that comes up is that it’s a prolific flowering variety.

Another factor that influences the growth of flower stalks is the variety of rhubarb. Some are more likely to flower than others. Old-fashioned varieties such as Victoria and MacDonald continuously produce seed pods whereas other varieties like Canada Red and Valentine are less likely to bolt. These and other modern varieties are bred to flower less often.

Some people would remove the flower, so that the energy can go to stalk and leaf production. Unlike certain herbs and vegetables, flowering will not alter the flavour of your stalks. So if you want high yield, remove the flowering stalk.

Using pruning shears, cut the flower stalk as close as possible to the main plant at the base, and discard it. If you do not cut the flower stalk off as low as possible, it may begin to rot and provide a home to slugs and other insects which may in turn damage the rhubarb plants.

I may just leave it because it looks so pretty! The photos below were taking this morning. Isn’t she gorgeous?

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