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Perennials

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Rhubarb (Rheum x hybridum)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

Life without rhubarb and custard, with or without a pie crust or crumble is unthinkable.

By combining indoor and outdoor forcing with normal harvesting, you should be able to eat your own rhubarb from late January until August.

Rhubard can be grown successfully from seed but (3-4 year old) roots are the more common option as you then only have to wait one year before light cropping.

Keep up your own supply of roots (for forcing or replanting) by dividing three-year old plants in late autumn or early spring, making sure that each piece has an undamaged bud.

Likes and dislikes
Soil
Stonyok
Lightok
Loamyok
Heavyprefer
pH6.0 - 6.8
Manure
Previous cropdislike
Previous autumnok
Before plantingprefer
Position
Full sunprefer
Partial shadeok
Shadedislike
Exposure
Openok
Shelteredprefer

Seed

sow indoors sow indoors

Sow on the surface of seed compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of vermiculite. Maintain a temperature of at least 20°C in a propagator or polythene bag. Do not exclude light. Germination can take 3 to 5 weeks and sedlings should be removed from the propagator as soon as they emerge.


prick out prick out

When large enough to handle prick out into 7.5cm pots or modules, hardening off for two weeks prior to planting.


plant plant

Between plants: 90cm
Between rows: 90cm

Plant out after all risk of frost has passed into well-manured soil - dig a 30 by 30 by 30cm hole, backfill with a mixture of manure and soil. Top dress every autumn with well-rotted compost or manure.


harvest harvest

Don't harvest at all in the first year and in the second year only a few stalks should be removed. From the third season, twist off (don't cut) stalks as required, always ensuring that you leave 2 to 4 stems on the plant. Cut of the (poisonous) leaves and add them to the compost bin.


Crowns

plant plant

Between plants: 90cm
Between rows: 90cm

Plant out after all risk of frost has passed into well-manured soil - dig a 30 by 30 by 30cm hole, backfill with a mixture of manure and soil. Ensure buds are no greater than 5cm below the soil surface. Top dress every autumn with well-rotted compost or manure.


plant plant

Between plants: 90cm
Between rows: 90cm

Split congested crowns, replanting vigorous pieces in a 30 by 30 by 30cm hole then backfill with a mixture of manure and soil. Ensure buds are no greater than 5cm below the soil surface. Top dress every autumn with well-rotted compost or manure


harvest harvest

Don't harvest at all in the first year and in the second year only a few stalks should be removed. From the third season, twist off (don't cut) stalks as required, always ensuring that you leave 2 to 4 stems on the plant. Cut off the (poisonous) leaves and add them to the compost bin.


Force outdoors

blanch blanch

Place a forcing pot or upturned bucket over the crowns to exclude light. For extra warmth, cover the pots with straw or manure.


harvest harvest

Twist off (don't cut) stalks as required, always ensuring that you leave 2 to 4 stems on the plant. Cut off the (poisonous) leaves and add them to the compost bin. Stop harvesting in July to give plants time to recover.


Force indoors

plant plant

Dig up crowns which are at least three years old, once the foliage has died back. Plant the clumps close together in a box and just cover with soil, excluding all light with a tall bucket or just a black plastic bag. Maintain a temperature of between 10 and 13°C.


harvest harvest

Harvest as normal (by twisting off stalks) as required but discard crowns when finished as they will be exhausted.


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Remove flowering stalks immediately (administrator - 05:50 19/04/2012) Report inappropriate tip
A fast-growing central stalk growing straight up may well be a flower which will suck energy away from leaf production. Cut and compost as soon as it is clear it's not a leaf.
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