Gardens
by Aspect County

Rhubarb – Versatile, delicious, and easy to grow – you’ll be tickled pink!

You may have heard of the Bermuda Triangle but have you heard of the Rhubarb Triangle? No it’s not a place where the pink-stalked vegetable mysteriously disappears it is in fact a 9‑square mile triangle in West Yorkshire, the main source of forced rhubarb in the UK

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Fruit or vegetable?
Technically it is a vegetable, but it is familiarly known as one of the earliest fruits of the year, versatile and delicious in both sweet and savoury dishes and more recently it has become very popular in drinks too. Forced rhubarb is much sought after this time of year but be quick if you want to lay your hands on some as it’s in season from February to April and not again until later in the year. 

Fortunately, if you’re a fan of the unique ingredient, with its distinctively tangy taste, you’ll be pleased to know that it is very easy to grow. With a little care, you can harvest an abundance of the delicious stalks for many years. 

Growing rhubarb
Rhubarb from seed is a challenge, it’s more common to plant a dormant crown in the ideal months of April and May, September and October. It likes moist, but free-draining soil, in an open sunny position. Avoid areas in your garden that can become waterlogged and prone to frost in winter.

Chose a planting site with plenty of space for the plant to grow (it can be grown in a very large container but if you want better results and space allows then planting direct in the ground is best) prepare the planting site by adding organic matter such as well-rotted manure then dig a hole and position the plant so that the tip of the crown is just above the surface of the soil. Water in well.

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Harvest
To harvest rhubarb, avoid the temptation to use the stalks from a first year plant as it will diminish future growth. On established plants, stalks can be harvested from March or April (for early cultivars) or late April/May (for main crop). Don’t over harvest by taking all the stalks from your plant just cut as necessary with a sharp knife when they are at least 10 inches (25cm) or longer. Note: the leaves of the rhubarb and extremely poisonous and should never be eaten. 

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