Rhubarb

Rhubarb1

The plants are not difficult to grow and will thrive under a variety of conditions. With proper care your rhubarb will provided a tasty and ornamental addition to the vegetable garden. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and should NEVER be eaten.

Rhubarb can be grown by seed, or with seedlings. If growing them this way then after planting leave for about two or three years. Do not pick any of the crop, just let it grow naturally. So plants develop a strong root system.

The other way to grow them and usually the most popular method is buying a crown. Rhubarb crowns are available for purchase and planting winter through to early spring starting from around May onwards.

Rhubarb like a sunny to part sun position. Prepare the Rhubarb bed with some compost and some Blood and Bone, Dynamic Lifter or Rapid Raiser.  To plant the crown you will need to dig hole or a trench if planting larger numbers. For each crown make a little mound, at the bottom of the hole/trench. Sit the crown nicely on top of the mound. Plant about 1-1.5m apart. In areas where there is extreme hot or cold conditions plant the roots with the crown bud 5 cm below the surface of the soil. In areas with mild temperatures all year round then only place 1 cm of soil to cover the top of the crown. Firm the soil, but keep it loose over the buds. Water well once planted. As the plants grow feed regularly.

Keep Rhubarb well-watered but make sure it has good drainage. Rhubarb likes a fair amount of moisture around its roots during the warmer months, but it definitely will not survive in boggy conditions. The soil should be well-drained, especially to get them through the winter. Young plants are prone to rotting off.

When watering apply water at the base of the plant, never directly over its leaves or stems as rhubarb stems are prone to rots and rusts. If you cannot find an ideal position why do try some in a pot.

Snails and slugs love Rhubarb! So keep your eye out for them.

Don't harvest the first year so to allow crown to develop a strong root system. As the clumps develop, pick more heavily about every six weeks or so should be often enough. When harvesting Rhubarb, pull the largest stalks cleanly downwards and sideways from the outside of the clump and always leave at least four stems in the centre of the clump as Rhubarb needs some leaves to keep its food factory functioning. If Rhubarb leaves are not red enough for your liking, try adding some extra potassium (potash).

Don't worry if the Rhubarb stems, are green and not red as some plants will stay green even in good soils. Mark out the red stem areas before winter and when you divide the crowns only plant back the pieces which produce red stems.

Rhubarb really benefit from being lifted out of the ground and divided up into pieces and should be done every few years. Late winter and early spring are the best times for dividing. Select the best parts of the clump for replanting and discard the rest. The strongest pieces can be planted back into the same garden bed or a new position in a sunny or lightly shaded place. Before planting dig plenty of organic matter into the area and mix some Rapid Raiser or Dynamic lifter into the soil.



RHUBARB LEAVES, UNLIKE THE DELICIOUS STALKS, ARE POISONOUS.
THEY SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE EATEN!