Rhubarb is one of those old fashion veggie garden plants that often gets overlooked and forgotten. If you are looking for a productive plant that 'gives' year after year, with only a little bit of care, then this one is for you.
Rhubarb's scientific name is Rheum rhabarbarum. It is a herbaceious perennial that grows from short, thick rhizomes. The stalks are edible and known for their strong, tart taste. However, the leaves are poisonous and need to be avoided.
Uses of Rhubarb
The stalks are often stewed with sugar to make a beautiful dessert with icecream or custard. It is also commonly used in dessert pies and even pickled.
If cared for, Rhubarb will grow and produce well for at least 10 to 15 years; and even longer. Soming growing specifics are:
- It is best grown in cooler climates - excessive prolonged heat is its enemy.
- Rhubarb will tolerate periods of dry.
- The crown will rot if in excessively wet soils for prolonged periods of time.
- Slighhtly acidic soil is preferred - pH 6.0 to 6.8.
- Fertilise regulalry with liberal amounts of well aged manures (must not be fresh - these can burn the leaves).
- Space rhubarb crowns at least 60cm apart.
- Once mature, harvest is best during the months of spring.
- When mature (best at about 5 years) the crown can be divided to produce additional plants.
With only a little bit of care, you should enjoy your rhubarb for many years to come.