Awesome Perennial Garden Plants: How To Grow 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