Rhubarb

Rhubarb would have to be one of the most cost effective vegetables you can grow. At $5 - $7 a bunch at the supermarket and only $20 for a plant, it's a really simple crop to have in your back yard.  
This is a great crop to grow in a cool climate. One of my top recommendations because it is perfect for this zone.
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Planting

Rhubarb are a perennial plant which means they grow in the same place for many years.
Rhubarb can be grown in full shade however your crop will be about half the size of a crop in full sun. However if shade is all you have, you can plant rhubarb.
The ideal spot however is full sun and you will be rewarded with a bumper crop.
Rhubarb grow from "crowns" like asparagus and strawberries, which are disc-like root systems that live under the soil. They can also be grown from seed but this takes considerably longer.
Plant the crown at a shallow depth of no more than 10cm. However has they are heavy feeders, it is worthwhile digging a hole about 30cm deep and filling it with compost.
Plants that are 5 years old benefit from being divided and separated as by this age they will need more space.
Rhubarb will go to seed in spring. There is little benefit in harvesting the seeds so cut off the stem otherwise production will decline for a while.

Flowering

If your rhubarb is going to flower, chop it off. There is no point saving the seeds because rhubarbs multiple easily by dividing. So don't let your rhubarb flower because it takes a lot of energy and it's better to let it spend that making more stems.

Varieties 

There are a number of varieties of rhubarb. Some die back and go dormant over winter while others remain lush above the ground.
Some varieties have stems which are partially green. These are not unripe but just the variety.

Harvesting

It is best to let the rhubarb grow for one full year before harvesting. This allows the plant to establish itself without the stress of harvesting.
A stem is ready for harvest when the leaf unfurls and becomes flat. It is important that you do not cut the stems as they can risk disease and pests. Instead hold the stem as close to the base as possible and twist the stem off gently.
Don't harvest more than two thirds of the plant at once otherwise it will become stressed.
Once autumn arrives complete your harvest and let the plant grow before winter.

Companion Planting

Rhubarb benefit from being planted near garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and onion.

Container Planting

Rhubarb can be grown in containers. Plant one crown per pot. Pots should be at least 3cm in diameter and as always I recommend self watering pots and water crystals.

Fertilising

Rhubarb are heavy feeders so fertilise them regularly. They benefit from equal amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Seasol is great as well as coffee grounds and banana water. They would also benefit from being close to a Compot. Avoid getting fertiliser on the crown.

Succession Planting

Rhubarb are not appropriate for succession planting.
 

 Eating - got to much?  Try these recipes

 Rhubarb and strawberry cake

Apple and Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb and stewed apple

Rhubarb pie

 


 

Rhubarb