Rhubarb – A Garden Staple on Farms

Rhubarb has been a staple on many farms for generations. There was a time when all farms had a large plot designated just for this crop. As farms have died down and the garden plots have disappeared, rhubarb is harder to buy. Rhubarb from my garden
Creative Commons License photo credit: ilovemypit

Rhubarb has many uses, both as an edible fruit and herbal uses. The root can even be used to naturally lighten your hair and cover gray. It also looks nice in perennial gardens offering lush green leaves and bright red stems.

I put in a rhubarb patch around eight years ago. If you prepare your patch properly rhubarb is easy to grow.

Rhubarb needs fertile soil that will drain well. I prepared my patch by adding compost and some sand (I have rocky and clay in my soil).  I dug the soil about 10 inches deep and added the compost. I later added sand. After planting rhubarb crowns that had been given to me I watered them well and ignored the patch. To keep the weeds down I applied a thick layer of straw. This patch has supplied a steady source of rhubarb for friends and family.

Rhubarb does better if it is divided every four or five years. I divided my patch three years ago and doubled my plants easily. This year I again divided the plants and gave many plants away to friends. You divide the roots of the plants and set back in the ground with the rhubarb crown even with the soil. Fall is the best time to divide the plants.

Rhubarb is a cool weather plant so its does well if you plant is near a side of a building for shade in the warmer months. Also, if you keep it picked and do not allow a seed head to grow you can harvest rhubarb all summer long. IMG_0917.JPG
Creative Commons License photo credit: dconlon

Rhubarb and be canned or frozen. If you’re not familiar with rhubarb you use the stem. The leaves can be toxic. Rhubarb can be canned or frozen. It makes great cobbler or jam. Cooked rhubarb that has been cooled is  one of our favorite treats on those  warm  fall nights.

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2 responses to “Rhubarb – A Garden Staple on Farms”

  1. Derrick Nortcliffe

    I have a small plot of rhubarb which to my knowledge has been in existance for the last thirty years or so. This year it has more seed blossoms than ever. Should I let this continue or should the blossom be removed at an early stage. The plant has been such a good supplier of fruit that I would prefer not to cut the blossom back if by doing so it proved my plant would be damaged.

  2. Rhubarb blossoms are supposed to be removed as soon as they start to develop. The blossom that goes into the blossom development slows down rhubarb development.

    Remove the entire stalk. There will be no damage to the plant. Denise

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