How to Plant and Grow Rhubarb Safely

How to Plant and Grow Rhubarb Safely

How To Plant & Grow Rhubarb – And Safely Harvest It Too!

Rhubarb is a popular perennial vegetable that is not only delicious but also incredibly versatile. Its tart flavor pairs well with sweet fruits, making it the perfect addition to pies, jams, and other desserts. Growing rhubarb in your garden is a relatively simple process, but there are a few key steps to follow for a successful harvest. In this article, we will guide you through the process of planting and growing rhubarb, as well as provide tips on how to safely harvest it.

Planting Rhubarb

Before you begin planting rhubarb, it’s important to choose a suitable location in your garden. Rhubarb prefers a spot with well-drained soil and full sun. Avoid areas that are prone to standing water, as this can lead to rotting roots.

Once you have selected a location, it’s time to prepare the soil. Rhubarb thrives in soil that is rich in organic matter, so amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure. Dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to accommodate the rhubarb crown. Place the crown in the hole and cover it with soil, leaving the buds exposed.

Now, give your newly planted rhubarb a good soak of water and mulch around the crown to help conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Rhubarb is a heavy feeder, so remember to fertilize it throughout the growing season using a balanced organic fertilizer.

Growing Rhubarb

After planting, it’s time to let your rhubarb settle in and establish its roots. In the first year, it’s important to resist the temptation to harvest any stalks. Instead, allow the plant to put its energy into developing a strong root system. This will ensure a healthier and more productive plant in the long run.

Rhubarb is a low-maintenance plant, but it does require regular watering, especially during dry spells. Aim to provide around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Additionally, keep an eye out for pests, such as aphids or slugs, which can damage the leaves. If necessary, use organic pest control methods to protect your rhubarb.

Throughout the growing season, the rhubarb plant will produce large, lush leaves. It’s important to resist the urge to trim or remove these leaves, as they serve as the plant’s energy source. Instead, focus on maintaining the health of the plant by providing adequate water and nutrients.

As the second year rolls around, you can start harvesting rhubarb stalks. But remember, never remove more than one-third of the stalks at a time, as this can weaken the plant. To harvest, grip the stalk close to the base and give it a gentle twist. The stalk should easily separate from the crown. Trim off any leaves, as they are toxic and should not be consumed.

Safely Harvesting Rhubarb

While rhubarb is a delicious vegetable, it’s important to note that its leaves are toxic and should never be consumed. The leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. Therefore, it’s crucial to safely harvest rhubarb and discard the leaves properly.

When harvesting rhubarb, always remember to remove the leaves before using the stalks. Cut the stalks close to the base, leaving a small portion attached to the crown. This helps prevent rotting and allows the plant to continue to produce energy for future growth.

Once you have harvested your rhubarb stalks, it’s time to decide how to use them. Rhubarb is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It can be stewed, baked, or even pickled for later use.

My 2 Cents

Growing and harvesting rhubarb is a rewarding experience. When planting rhubarb, choose a sunny location with well-drained soil and amend it with organic matter. Allow the plant to establish its roots in the first year without harvesting any stalks. In the second year, you can start enjoying the delicious harvest, but always remember to remove the toxic leaves before using the stalks. Rhubarb can be used in a myriad of recipes, so get creative in the kitchen. Enjoy the tart and tangy flavor that rhubarb brings to your meals!