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What Vegetable Can You Hear Growing? – GIY Plants

What Vegetable Can You Hear Growing

This may seem like a strange question. However, there is one vegetable, grown under specific conditions that makes quite a bit of noise as it grows. So what vegetable can you hear growing?

Rhubarb grown outside in the garden won’t speak to you, but when it’s grown in the dark it gets quite vocal. When rhubarb is grown without sunlight, it is called ‘forced’ rhubarb or hothouse rhubarb. It grows rapidly which causes it to make noises.

There’s a small triangular-shaped area or 9 square miles in England that is known for growing ‘forced’ rhubarb[2]. This area is known as the Rhubarb Triangle. Let’s discuss what makes ‘forced’ rhubarb special and how it makes noise.

‘Forced’ Rhubarb: Better Taste And Texture

‘Forced’ rhubarb is grown by candlelight in special sheds that produce heat and block sunlight. The plants grow using the heat and their own energy stores from their roots.

The lack of sunlight allows them to store more sugars in their stems. This produces a sweeter-tasting stalk when it’s harvested[1]. The texture is also more tender when compared to rhubarb grown outdoors.

You Can Hear Hothouse Rhubarb Growing

‘Forced’ rhubarb grows extremely fast as the stalks reach upward quickly in search of sunlight. The speed of their growth, up to 1 inch per day, causes them to produce noise.

The stalks produce creaking and squeaking noises as they rapidly stretch upwards. As the buds pop open and leaves unfurl, they produce popping and crackling sounds. If you listen to the recording of them growing below, it almost sounds like logs burning in a fire.


[1] MacEacheran, M. (2019). Forced rhubarb – a vegetable deprived of sunlight for extra sweetness – has been eaten in Yorkshire since the 19th Century. Now the culinary treasure is having a renaissance. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

[2] Pittam, R. (2006). Secrets of the Rhubarb Triangle. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

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