The mild start to the year has meant that the rhubarb is growing and well on the way this year, in fact it will not be long until we will be eating it – and posting some fantastic recipes.
Rhubarb is one of our favourites, my son wanders up to the plants, breaks off a stem and proceeds to eat it raw. We also often give the kids a stick of raw rhubarb and a small paper bag with a little sugar in that they dip into.
Rhubarb is incredibly easy to grow, we planted 5 crowns about 4 years ago and have had bumper crops every year.
It needs well drained, rich soil that doesn’t get waterlogged and heads should be planted out about 1 to 1.5 metres apart.
Maintenance is easy, just keep the weeds down and add some well rotted compost or farmyard manure over winter. I sometimes put some of my grass mowings over the soil during the summer which helps to keep the moisture in, keeps the weeds down and rots down for compost. Also, after picking the rhubarb, I put the leaves back down on the soil to rot back down.
You shouldn’t pick any stalks in the plant’s first year after planting to give the rhubarb time to establish itself. From the second year you can start picking when the stalks are quite short up until they get very large later in the year.
To pick, take hold of a stalk from near the bottom and pull firmly away, removing the stalk from the crown.