Right from a child, we had rhubarb growing in the garden and it was always welcomed, whether it was stewed or turned into apple and rhubarb pie which is a favourite of Daniel’s. One of the first plants we bought when we started the garden at our home was a rhubarb crown. Rhubarb is classed as fruit, however recently we have been experimenting with using it in savoury dishes.
Planting your Rhubarb
There are couple of ways you can choose to start growing rhubarb, from seeds, seedling or from crowns. We have tried from seeds and seedling with no luck but have had great success with growing crowns.
When planting your rhubarb crown, we recommend improving the soil with plenty of manure and organic matter. Rhubarb loves full sun but will require some shade in our hot summers. Our is planted under our nectarine tree so in the cooler months it gets full sun and in the heat of the summer it is under the shade of the tree. We recommend planting your rhubarb crown coming into spring whilst it’s still dormant. Plant your crown so it’s about 50mm below the surface.
Caring for your Rhubarb
Caring for a Rhubarb we found is easy: Once a year we give the plant a top of cow and sheep manure, a new layer of mulch and fertilise with an organic slow-release fertiliser. Every four or five years you will need to separate the crowns, otherwise the plant can become overcrowded which will lead to less production. If you don’t want to use it for more rhubarb plants yourself, consider offering it to a fellow gardener or compost it down.
Harvesting your Rhubarb
When harvesting your rhubarb, always pull the stalk away from the crown, don’t cut. Cutting the stalks off can promote diseases and by pulling them off they help the plant put on new growth. Always leave a couple of stalks on the plant so the plant has energy to continue growing.
Pests we have had with Rhubarb
Rhubarb has been a fairly easy plant for us to grow with our only problem being slugs, snails and caterpillars which they just eat the leaves. These have always been dealt with by just removing them and discarding them humanely.
Other Pest and Diseases you may have with your Rhubarb
Some of the pest and diseases you may come across are aphids, african black beetle, grubs, mites, vegetable weevil, wingless grasshopper, sugar knot nematode and downy mildew.