If there are several
roots, one or two can be lifted and forced in
a garage or beneath the greenhouse bench. But
first allow it to remain for a week or two in
the open after lifting to become frosted; this
will make it force all the better. Half fill a
deep orange box with a friable soil (a mixture
of loam, peat and decayed manure is ideal), and
in it place the root with the ‘eye’
at soil level. Water in and place a sheet of cardboard
or a sack over the top to exclude light. If planted
in December, the sticks, reddish-pink in colour,
will have reached to the covering by the end of
January. They will be about 30-37cm (12-15in)
long and are then removed as required by pulling.
Use the largest first to allow the others to grow
on. When cropping has finished, turn out the roots,
divide them and re-plant in March or April to
grow on, but do not remove any sticks that year.
Another way to obtain early sticks is to cover
a mature root in the open where it is growing.
This is done by placing over it a deep box or
upturned bucket. The previous year’s sticks
will have died back during winter. Before covering,
place over the root some fresh strawy manure or
composted straw, which will provide some warmth.
About 1 March is the time to cover the roots,
and the first sticks will be ready to pull about
Uncovered roots outdoors will produce sticks to
use in early May and they will continue until
late in summer. Young sticks freeze well. Late
in autumn, remove the old sticks and foliage,
dig over the soil around the roots and give a