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Growing Rhubarb

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P                

(Best months for growing Rhubarb in USA - Zone 5a regions)

P = Plant crowns

  • Easy to grow. Plant pieces of rhizome or roots 8 - 10 cm (3 - 4 in.) deep. Best planted at soil temperatures between 41°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 35 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 1 years. You will have a stronger plant if you leave it for about a year before using..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc)
  • Young rhubarb
    Young rhubarb

Rhubarb is easy to grow in cool climates and is a perennial. Rhubarb can be left in the ground and will return a crop for many years, at least 10 to 15 years (We have one that is more than 20 yrs old). Rhubarb is quite a hardy crop but the crown will rot if in heavy wet clay soils. It can cope with dry periods. Plant in good soil and remove as many weeds as possible. Do not disturb rhubarb roots when cultivating round the plant. Better in cooler climates, but can be grown in shady areas of warm climates. You can lift and divide rhubarb to make more plants . It is best to do this when the plant is dormant ( or at least less actively growing) in winter or late autumn. It is best to wait until a plant is about 5 years old before dividing the crown but it can be moved at any age. Some of the root structure will be damaged when lifting it, so stalk production will not be so good for a few months. If you have mild winters and your rhubarb is still producing new stalks, you can continue to pick it. Although rhubarb is used in desserts and jams, it is considered a vegetable because the stalks are used not the fruit.

NB Do not eat the leaves or roots as they contain oxalic acid which is poisonous. They should not be fed to poultry or stock either.

Remove flower stalks as they appear as the plant will stop producing leaf stalks when flowering.

Rhubarb can be 'forced' by covering dormant crowns with clay pots or a cloche in early spring.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rhubarb

Pick stems about the thickness of your finger. Large stems will have tough 'strings' down the length of them.
Use in pies, crumbles, fools and jams. Rhubarb goes well with orange.
Will usually need sweetener.

Your comments and tips

15 Oct 17, Lexi (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Glasshouse, Qld. I have one rhubard planted in a tyre. It was quite small when I bought it about three months ago. It is now absolutely flourishing with stalks over a foot long. My question is this... If I can't eat the stalks for the first year what do I do, prune and discard or just leave it alone?
15 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Maybe pick some - say half. My mother grew it when I was young. Last year I picked asparagus for 6 weeks and I feel I could have picked it for 3 mths.
17 Sep 17, Julie (Australia - temperate climate)
I have been growing one rhubarb crown in a pot for 12 months. The stalks are very thin but tasty. Just bought a much bigger pot & some compost to replant it into. Should I put the pot up on bricks like my lemon tree or just on the ground?
23 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
In a pot it requires more care and attention. Good soil and a regular fertilizing to produce good stalks. I don't think it really matters if it is raised or not.
07 Sep 17, Bill (Australia - temperate climate)
What is the best manure for Rhubarb, dry or liquid
11 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Depends which manure - read about them. Manure is a good soil builder. Low to mid strength fertiliser. Fresh manure better to make a water tea with. Old dry manure better to incorporate into the soil.
31 Aug 17, Val Scott (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Where in Durban can I buy rhubarb plants?
10 Aug 17, Jennufer smith (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in kingaroy qld ..we have around 36 deg summer and a very small winter maybe 3 frosts..but does get down to 4 deg ..could you tell me the best place to grow rhubarb ..it will be in the ground .. .and how will i know how high to cover with dirt ..ta Jenny .
12 Aug 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read the notes above. In warm areas grow it in shady areas and plant 100mm or 4" deep in Sept.
10 Aug 17, Patty douglas (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
What position and planting advice for Kloof Kzn South Africa for Rhubarb seadlings
Showing 1 - 10 of 350 comments

What is the best manure for Rhubarb, dry or liquid

- Bill

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