How To Grow Rhubarb
How To Grow Rhubarb
Lindsey Evans teaches us how to plant, grow, care for, and harvest a perfect rhubarb crop. She covers everything from the details of proper planting, to warding off disease, to the technique of 'forcing' the rhubarb to make its stems tastier. Top notch advice on how to grow rhubarb in your garden.
Rhubarb is a very hardy vegetable. In fact, it requires a period of frost to develop its tastiest stems. It has a really deep root system, so make sure you dig down nice and deep.
Incorporate layers of compost into the planting bed for it to get some nice, good drainage to those roots. It prefers to grow in partial shade. You can grow rhubarb from seeds, but it's a bit of a fiddle and they won't start producing stems for a year or two after they've matured into small plantlets.
The best thing to do is to buy them as plants, or what's called crowns from the garden center, and then plant these directly into the ground. You should plant the rhubarb in autumn or early winter. Don't forget the plants can grow really large, so make sure you give them plenty of space to grow in.
Dig a hole slightly larger than the plants and then plant the plants so that their tops finish around about level with, or just below, the surface of the soil. Depending on the variety, plant them 75 centimeters to a meter 20 apart. Give them a nice blanket of mulch in the autumn.
In order to keep rhubarb plants healthy, they need to be divided every five or six years. Dig the plant up and split it into about four different plants. Make sure that each plant has an eye, which is basically the name for one of the rhubarb leaf buds.
'Forcing' is something you'll hear mentioned with regard to rhubarb. This is a process of bringing the shoots on earlier, and some people believe that forced rhubarb tastes much better. Basically, place something impermeable to light, like a black plastic dustbin, over the top of the rhubarb as it starts to grow.
This means you'll get a slightly earlier crop, and as I say, a lot of people think the stems taste much sweeter. Don't harvest the rhubarb in the first year, give it a chance to grow and develop. Start pulling the stems in the second year.
The way that you harvest rhubarb is by grasping the stems and pulling them away from the base of the plant, rather than cutting it. One of the main diseases that affects rhubarb is crown rot. Avoid this by making sure that the plant has really, really good drainage.
And those are my tips for getting a good crop of tasty rhubarb. Lindsey Evans teaches us how to plant, grow, care for, and harvest a perfect rhubarb crop. She covers everything from the details of proper planting, to warding off disease, to the technique of 'forcing' the rhubarb to make its stems tastier.
Top notch advice on how to grow rhubarb in your garden.