Learning Download: How to Growing Rhubarb
The rhubarb plant is a beautifully colored and tart stem that often makes delicious pies or jams. It is a cool season plant and grows as a perennial, meaning it comes back every year. It is drought resistant, and sometimes it is grown for its foliage to be used as a border. Rhubarb is actually considered to be a vegetable, though many think that it is a fruit.
Before Planting: Prior to planting, amend the soil with compost and manure to aid in growth. Rhubarb grows best in well-drained, fertile soil and in full sun.
Planting: Plant rhubarb crowns in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked. You can also plant rhubarb in the fall once dormancy sets in. Space the plants 4 inches apart with the roots 1 to 2 inches below the soil line.
Watering: Rhubarb plants require plenty of water. Soil should be moist up to 4 inches deep. If it is soggy, refrain from watering for a few days until it dries out.
Fertilizer: Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders. Apply a 25-3-3 or 10-6-4 high-nitrogen fertilizer when the ground thaws in the spring.
Days to Maturity: Rhubarb plants aren’t ready to harvest until their second season of growth, because this is when they have become established. Stalks are ready to harvest when they are 12 to 18 inches in length.
Harvesting: Grab the stalk at its base and pull and twist it away from the ground. You can also cut the stalk at the base. Discard the leaves after harvesting. If stalks are too slender do not harvest them.
Tips: Split the rhubarb plants every three to four years, as this will help continue good growth. Divide the plants when they are dormant in the spring.