Rhubarb in early spring
Did I ever tell you that I love you, rhubarb?
Yes, yes, I do! So, why do I love you so? (Are there really folks out there that hate rhubarb!?)
Rhubarb is faithful, to return every single year no matter how harsh the winter was.
Rhubarb is so easy to care for. It even likes fresh chicken manure! I can throw the manure on it with abandon. And it never becomes unruly!
Rhubarb is right up there with the garlic in the race to poke its head up in the early spring. What a happy sight! How nice to see those red knuckles of rhubarb emerging.
Ahh, and rhubarb pie! Just close your eyes and relish!
- Rheum rhabarbarum, is a perennial vegetable, used as a fruit. It is grown for its red stalks, which are very tart.
- Rhubarb is a large showy plant, with large, heart-shaped , crinkly leaves on reddish stalks.
- Likes full sun, but will take some shade.
- Likes deep, fertile, moist soil.
- Grows in zone 2-9, but needs 2 months of cold temperatures to thrive.
- It is seldom bothered by pests.
- Rhubarb is long lived, so give it a place where it can live for many years.
- Rhubarb is one to the first vegetables that can be harvested in the spring.
How to grow
- Plant each division about 4 feet apart into deeply dug and well manured soil.
- Keep the bed weeded and mulched.
- Manure the bed each year, spreading a 1 inch layer over it.
- Rhubarb likes to be well watered.
- Rhubarb should be divided about every 4 years or so or the stalks will become spindly.
- Dig and divide in the early spring, just after it emerges, and before it leafs out.
- It is best propagated by root division, and not from seed.
- To divide, slice down through the root crown with a shovel, lift and replant. Keep well watered after replanting.
- Do not harvest the first year. Wait until the 2nd. or 3rd. year to begin harvesting to let the plant become established.
How to harvest
- Do Not eat the leaves-they are poisonous.
- Stalks can be harvested when about 12-18 tall.
- Grasp an outer stalk near its base, twist and pull away from the main clump. Do not cut with a knife.
- Do not harvest more than 1/2 of the plant at a time.
- Rhubarb can be harvested till about mid-summer. The spring stalks are the best tasting.
- Rhubarb will let you know when to stop harvesting-the stalks will become spindly, and it needs to rest.
- Leave the plant to rest for the rest of the summer.
Rhubarb will send up flowering stalks-you can start new rhubarb plants from these seeds, but it is far easier to just dig and divide it. I always cut these flowering stalks off, to keep the clump producing more stalks.
Rhubarb is one of my most favorite perennial vegetable to grow!
And, now a quick and easy recipe to use with your rhubarb. I will be posting more recipes later.
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
3-4 cups diced rhubarb stalks
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
A white or yellow cake mix
- Place the diced rhubarb in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the rhubarb.
- Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions-use 1 less egg than called for.
- Pour the cake batter over the rhubarb.
- Bake as directed.
A pudding type sauce is created on the bottom of this cake.
This cake is best eaten the same day as baked.
This is good to make when serving a large group.
It is amazingly good and so easy to make.