How To Grow Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a simple plant to grow, and if you get the circumstances perfect from the start, it will provide you a long period of trouble-free growth. With its huge leaves and brilliant crimson stems, it not only looks great in the vegetable garden, but it also provides a sweet and delectable treat when there isn’t much else to harvest.

Location and the soil

Rhubarb prefers full sun, but may grow in moderate shade in a warm area. Keep an eye on the garden for a few days to locate the optimum position to plant, as I would choose a spot with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

You should also be informed that your rhubarb plant will remain in the same location for the next ten years because it does not want to be relocated. Rhubarb has a large root system, so don’t dig around it; instead, find a good spot and leave it alone! When deciding on your final location, keep in mind that a medium-sized plant will have a circumference of 4 feet or more.

Rhubarb prefers well-drained soil and will not thrive in moist soil; if your garden is damp, consider growing it in raised beds. Allow 4 weeks before planting to dig in lots of organic materials and allow it to settle. Remember that the plant does not like to be relocated, so you’ll want to add as much nutrient-rich stuff as possible to keep it going for as long as possible.

When should you plant?

Growing rhubarb from crowns (split plants) rather than seed is more easier and more productive. Late autumn to early winter is the best time to install them. The months of November and December are ideal.

Planting Instructions

In your prepared bed, dig a planting hole somewhat larger than the rhubarb crown. Plant the crown 2.5 cm below the soil’s surface with the growing tip. Firm the soil around the roots with your fingertips to create a good seal and remove any air spaces.

If the weather is exceptionally dry while you’re planting, give the plant plenty of water to help it establish. Apply a compost mulch all around the plant, but not directly above the developing point, which will emerge in about four weeks.

Crop Maintenance

Rhubarb is a simple plant to grow, but with a little more attention and care, you can boost your output and produce a higher-quality stem.

Give your plants a good feed at the conclusion of the growing season in the shape of a top dressing of well-rotted garden compost, but don’t pile it up around the stems. Keep the area around the plant weed-free and give it a thorough soaking every now and then if it’s been a long time since it’s rained.

Early in the spring, flower heads may form, and these should be removed as soon as possible to prevent the plant from generating seed. Your rhubarb will be severely weakened and unlikely to restore to full strength if this occurs.

The only issue that is likely to be a concern is crown rot, which may be prevented by planting in well-drained soil and without burying the growing tips under compost. Basically, if you follow the advice in the preceding paragraphs, you should be fine!

Rhubarb harvesting

No matter how pleased and excited you are about your new addition, harvesting stems in the first year is not suggested. The plant will be weakened, and it will take the entire first year to build a strong root system. The plant will require all of its foliage to accomplish this, so exercise restraint and leave it alone.

You can pluck some of the stems in the second year, two per plant is ideal, but make sure you leave at least five strong ones to grow on. In succeeding years, pull three or four stems at a time, ensuring that you leave roughly the same number. From May to July, rhubarb will grow stems, providing you 2-3 pickings per crown.

When picking, remove the biggest stems and wait until the leaves have fully opened. Pull gently from the plant’s base while twisting it slightly. The leaves are hazardous to eat, but they may be composted safely with the rest of your garden rubbish.

Rhubarb Forcing

A procedure known as forcing can help you grow a sweeter and earlier harvest of rhubarb. The goal is to keep the plant slightly warmer than outside conditions, which will cause the rhubarb to grow faster and yield an earlier crop. Did you know that West Yorkshire used to produce 90% of all forced rhubarb in the world, which had to be harvested by candlelight?

For optimal results, begin forcing in January. Remove any dead leaves or weeds from the area surrounding the crown to avoid decay. You can cover the growing shoots with a covering of straw or shredded newspaper to keep them warm and protect them from cold. Cover the crown with an overturned trashcan or a huge pot to keep the light out. Because it absorbs heat from the winter sun better, a dark-colored bucket will be slightly warmer. 8 weeks later, or when the pressure of the stalks pushes the bucket off, the rhubarb should be ready to pick.

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