Rhubarb is a garden plant that is very easy to grow and care for. It is a perennial meaning that it grows for more than 2 years and survives winters. Rhubarb is hardy and will give you plenty to harvest all season long. The stalks (or petioles as they are technically called) are the parts of the rhubarb that you eat. Many people ask me why I grow rhubarb. My answer is always a question, “Have you tasted a strawberry rhubarb crisp?” That use alone makes it worth it. Here is a great Rhubarb Crisp Recipe in case you needed one: Rhubarb Crisp Recipe.
However, the nutritional content in Rhubarb is another reason I grow it. It is actually very healthy for you and contains a ton of vitamins and dietary fiber and even some protein. Check out the image for nutritional information that Siri on my iPhone gave me when I asked for the nutritional information for 1 cup of rhubarb. You get low fat, low calories, high dietary fiber and high levels of calcium and vitamin C among many other vitamins. So, that is why I love growing rhubarb – it makes great desserts and has great nutritional value.
In the Spring, rhubarb will begin to go to seed by sending up a tall stalk with little flowers on it. If you let the rhubarb go to seed, the plant itself will not produce as many stalks and will focus its energy on the flowers. So, to increase the productivity of your rhubarb plant, simply cut the flower stalk off each year when it appears. I do this with my rhubarb each year and it helps me to get incredible yields all summer long.
The only other thing you will need to do to care for your rhubarb plants is to give it water and to fertilize it each year. Any organic fertilizer will work or a if you want to simplify things, get some organic Jobe Fertilizer spikes. These are little dissolvable spikes that you put into the ground around your plants to give organic nutrients to the plant slowly over time. Buy the fertilizer spikes on Amazon through this link: Jobe’s Organic All Purpose Fertilizer Food Spikes, 50-Pack. That’s it, pretty simple.
With each new growing season, rhubarb will slowly spread forming new “crowns” (the portion of the plant where the stems meet the roots). These crowns can be divided to form new plants. Each year I have cut off a few crowns to give to friends and neighbors so they can plant their own rhubarb. Rhubarb also does well as a potted plant as long as their is enough room for the root system. A pot roughly the size of a 5 gallon bucket would be more than adequate to grow rhubarb. The large green leaves and the red stalks add beauty to any yard or patio.
Note: The leaves of rhubarb should not be eaten as they contain small amounts of oxalic acid which can be toxic to humans if consumed in large quantities (about 10 lbs of the leaves would need to be eaten by one average size adult to be lethal).
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