A sweet vegetable picked in Spring!
A healthy rhubarb plant is a great investment as it can remain productive for up to 10 years! Rhubarb can be grown from seeds. However, for a beginner, it is much easier to plant dormant crowns between Autumn and Spring when the soil is moist. You can buy rhubarb crowns from the majority of garden centres.
Although rhubarb is an undemanding plant, it grows best in sunny, moist and well drained soil as is hates being waterlogged, especially in winter. When preparing the area to plant, ensure it is completely free of weeds, and cover the ground with a mulch of composted manure. Space plants 75-90cm apart with 30cm between rows, and plant so the tip of the grown is visible just above the soil. You can also plant rhubarb in pots, but they have to be at least 50cm deep and wide.
During the first year of growth, resist the temptation to harvest the stems to allow for your plant to become more established. Your hard work will pay off as from the second year onward, you will be able to harvest them from April to June and produce crops year after year.
– Avoid burying the crown as it will rot!
– In Spring, remove rhubarb flowers as the appear in order to direct the plants’ energy into growing tasty stems.
– Only harvest a few stems at a time and never more than half of the available stems. This will cause over-cropping and will reduce the plants growth for the next harvest.