Living Stalks of rhubarb

Published on May 11th, 2010 | by ziggy

4

Awesome Perennial Garden Plants: How To Grow Rhubarb

stalks of rhubarb

Mm, mm. Ever have delicious strawberry and rhubarb jam? Do you want to be able to make your own? Well, it’s actually incredibly easy to grow rhubarb, the yummy and hardy perennial garden vegetable, popular in sweet jams, sauces, and cakes, and pies.

Rhubarb is a cold hardy and drought-resistant vegetable, making it very easy to grow in most of the United States. However, it does now grow well in southern regions. Its growing season runs from April to September, and its stalks are edible, not the leaves or roots, as they contain poisonous oxalic acid.

How to grow rhubarb

Rhubarb is best grown from crowns, which can be gathered from your friends’ plants or your local nursery. It should be planted in early spring and requires cool temperatures (around 40 deg F) for it to break winter dormancy. Plant the roots with the crown bud 2 inches below the surface of the soil. Remember, a little rhubarb can go a long way — you probably don’t need more than a few plants.

Refrain from harvesting rhubarb during the first year after planting. Each plant needs time to build up reserves in the root system to produce healthy stems, and their foliage will help to build a strong root system. Stalks may be harvested for 1 or 2 weeks during the second year after planting and for 8 to 10 weeks (a full harvest season) during the third and subsequent years. Pull the leafstalks from the plant and trim off the leaf blades and harvest only about one-third of the leaves from a plant at any one time to keep the rhubarb happy.

Rhubarb is delicious in sweet jams (especially with strawberry), sauces, and pies. For a rhubarb strawberry topping recipe, check out this website. And for more information about growing rhubarb at home, this is a handy resource.

Ready to get that garden going? We’ve got a full range of green gardening supplies, including rain barrels and compost bins. And when you’re ready to prepare some of that homegrown produce, get recipe and meal ideas from one of our cookbooks.

Image credit: Flickr via FotoosVanRobin



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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud



4 Responses to Awesome Perennial Garden Plants: How To Grow Rhubarb

  1. gardener says:

    Great site, I think we all can learn something from your post.this is fantastic looking blog..and I love the way you write!I hope you pick up the blog again soon. I have blog about home gardening too, same like you, I love gardening so much.

  2. Pingback: Successful Gardens

  3. Eunice theaker says:

    My friend has a very large garden which is mostly as nature intended. She has been growing rhubarb for years and this year something has been removing the leaves completely and she is left with just the stalks. This has happened to the various clumps growing around the garden. She has all types of wild life entering or making homes in her gasrden, including rabbits squirrels and moles and although she has kept watch she cannot find the reason for this decapitation. I would be very intersted to learn of any possible reason so that I can pass the message on. Thankyou

  4. Hello!
    Just came across your blog…very interesting reads!

    This particular “rhubarb post” caught my eye!

    I cannot understand why more people to not grow rhubarb! It is SO easy to grow rhubarb…it takes very little care…is a perennial, almost thrives on neglect. Even the smallest properties can acccommodate rhubarb. It is a healthy vegetable and is a very frugal garden choice.

    I have started a website devoted ONLY to everything rhubarb, included all about growing rhubarb, and ‘s of rhubarb recipes…you will be amazed at how versatile rhubarb it! It is VERY easy to freeze, and with the three to four harvests, (in Northern U.S. and Canada), you will have rhubarb to bake and cook with all winter…for free!!!

    Source: http://www.rhubarb-central.com/

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