Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that does not need a lot of attention, just the occasional watering during the summer months. Rhubarb plants need about six feet to grow, therefore make sure you have enough space in your garden when you are planting rhubarb for the first time.


Fact: Rhubarb leaves are poisonous.


Types of rhubarb:
Hothouse rhubarb:

These have pink to pale red stalks with yellow and green leaves.

Field-grown rhubarb:

These have bright red stalks with deep green leaves.

How to plant:
If you are planting rhubarb seeds or plants for the first time, make sure you have enough space in your garden and the soil is mixed with manure or compost to help your plants grow. It is easier to grow rhubarb from plants than from seeds. If you want to grow your rhubarb from seeds, start them indoors in the early spring and then transplant them in the late spring. If you want to grow your rhubarb from plants, plant them about three feet apart with the bud above the surface. Do not burry the bud completely.

If you divide your plants, you can keep rhubarb growing around your home for many years. In the fall, once the rhubarbs leaves have died, divide the rootstock into two groups to transplant next season.


Common Problems:
Snails and slugs can affect the growth of your rhubarb plants, to prevent this, simply remove them by hand. Crown rot and honey fungus also affects the growth of your rhubarb by attacking the stem where it joins the root. If you notice rot on the rhubarb stem you can cut away the affected areas.


Harvest Time:
You should be able to harvest your rhubarb in the spring and early summer. If you wait too long your rhubarb will be tough and stringy. If it is the first time you have planted rhubarb, wait until the second year to harvest. To remove rhubarb from the ground, hold the plant by the base and twist to remove each individual piece.



- Text Copyright ©Alan Buckingham 2008. DK Edition. Growing Vegetables.