Learn helpful tips how to grow rhubarb successfully from planting to harvesting in your garden so you can enjoy its fruit for years to come.
Rhubarb is a delicious fruit grown in Wisconsin. Many folks grow it alongside their homes, in gardens and containers.
My favorite memories of this plant include cutting these super tart stems and my mom making rich rhubarb pie. It’s no wonder why when I see it in the grocery store, I gravitate toward it to make my own recipes for my family.
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It’s not difficult to grow your own rhubarb, however, there are some things you should remember when doing so:
1. Rhubarb’s large green leaves produce oxalic acid that’s poisonous to humans. You’ll want to remove and compost the leaves but keep the bi- or tri-colored stems.
DID YOU KNOW? Is rhubarb a fruit or vegetable? Fact: It’s considered both. Botanically, it is a vegetable. But in 1947, a New York court ruling decided that for all intensive purposes rhubarb would be regulated as a fruit–since the majority of people here in the U.S. treated it as a fruit. (Source: Wikipedia)
2. Rhubarb is a perennial that requires well-drained soil with plenty of sunshine.
3. This plant doesn’t like dry roots, so keep it moist by watering regularly. You can also use bark mulch to will help with this task.
Can’t get a hold of rhubarb? Then grow it yourself with Heirloom Seeds by David’s Garden.
4. You’ll get the best results if the ground where you live freezes in winter (Zone 7+). Warm temperatures won’t do.
5. This is a hardy plant that needs plenty of room to grow (think 4-5 feet wide). And, you’ll only need to divide it every 5-10 years in the spring or fall–when dormant.
6. Should any flowers sprout at the base of the stalk, remove these, as they take away energy from the main plant.
7. Best time to rhubarb (one-year) crowns in spring once the ground has thawed a bit.
8. Because rhubarb has a large root system, keep this in mind when planting in containers–the larger the better.
9. Harvest rhubarb only after the first growing season and when the stalks are 12 to 18 inches long.
10. You can eat both green and red-colored stems. While the red is slightly sweeter, you will need to add more sugar to offset the tart flavor with green fruit.
Check out this simple recipe for Rhubarb Compote.
For more great tips and tricks for planting your favorite fruit and vegetables, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Garden Section.