Rhubarb


QUICK REFERENCE PLANTING GUIDE

1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.

 

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - 2 to 9.

 

3. Planting Distance - 3 feet apart.

 

4. Mature Height/Spread - 2-3 feet the 1st year with more dense 4 foot clumps within 2 years.

 

5. Bloom Time - N/A.

6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the bare root divisions received.  Set divisions in the planting hole with buds up and cover with 1 inch of soil.  Firm the soil around the plant with your fingers. Water thoroughly. 

 

SOIL PREPARATION

Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

 

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

 

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

 

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.

CONTINUING CARE

Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e., in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang.

 

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

 

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

 

Grooming - Clip off dead or unsightly growth to maintain attractive form and shape.  Deadhead or remove flowers when blooms have faded, leaving as much foliage as possible.  As long as the foliage remains green it will gather sunlight and transmit energy into the root system for the following growing season.

 

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster for Fruits and Vegetables.

 

Harvesting - Do not harvest rhubarb the first year. You may harvest lightly (a few stalks per plant) the second year. By the third year you can expect to harvest all stalks that are 1 inch and larger in diameter for a period of 6-8 weeks. Leave the smaller stalks to make food for the crown and next year's production. The harvest season for rhubarb extends from early May to early June. Some harvesting in the fall is acceptable. Harvest stalks by snapping the stalk off at the base. Seed stalks that appear should be snapped off immediately. After 3-5 years divide plants to maintain stalk size and production. A rhubarb patch will last several years with some attention.

 

Winterizing - The time to protect your plants in the garden is after the ground has frozen. At that time, apply a winter mulch of evergreen boughs, straws or leaves to prevent lifting of the plant's roots during alternating periods of freezing and thawing.

 

In spring, remove the mulch from in-ground plantings.   

 

CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.