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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.

What is Rhubarb

Rhubarb's scientific name is Rheum rhabarbarum. It is a herbaceous 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 ice cream or custard. It is also commonly used in dessert pies and even pickled.

Growing Rhubarb

If cared for, Rhubarb will grow and produce well for at least 10 to 15 years; and even longer. Some 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.
  • Slightly acidic soil is preferred - pH 6.0 to 6.8.
  • Fertilise regularly 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.

About the author: Steven McLean

I am an educator and passionate gardener and traveler. Throughout my adult life, gardening has been my passion, therapy, drive and source of purpose. Even as a child I had an intrinsic interest in plants and a desire to understand what makes them grow.

I distinctly remember the moment this began - my family was on one of our regular road trips from Hervey Bay; Australia. We were driving past a field of sugar cane. Dad pulled the car over and we cut a couple of sugar cane stems and brought them home for a treat. To be honest, I didn’t really like the taste, but I did want to try and grow it; and that is exactly what I did. It was then that my fascination, interest and passion for gardening and understanding plants began.

Fast forward a few years and I studied biological sciences and began what would be a 36 year career as a Biology educator. From this, I don’t only love gardening, but I also love helping others learn about gardening. I am also always looking for new ways to develop my own gardening knowledge. I like to think I am truly a life-long learner.

Fundamental to my beliefs about education is that learning is often best done as a part of a community - learning from others, and helping others to learn. It is this type of community that I hope iCultivate will be for its members - a community of gardeners, keen to share their gardening knowledge and wanting to learn about new ways to garden - a community built on the love of gardening.

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