GTK2::TreeView column with sortable date column

I've implemented a TreeView which works well. One of the many columns is a  standard format alphanumeric date column. 

I'm looking for advice on how to sort a TreeView column that contains dates; where the date is formatted (ex: Tue Feb 9, 8:58pm 2010) in a fairly typical alphanumeric string.

An alpha sort is obviously not correct when looking at date information.

Does anyone know of a way to implement an ascending/descending "date" sort of a TreeView column which contains dates?

I know I can easily convert to a completely numeric date but I'd rather not.

Thanks in advance. 

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