Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable so once you plant it correctly in your garden you will be able to harvest its stems year after year. Rhubarb may take up to three years to reach maturity if grown from seed, so it is best grown from young fleshly crowns available from garden centres. Plant rhubarb crowns into well-drained soil, late autumn and early winter, about 75cm to one metre apart to allow for their stem and leaf growth. Sufficient airflow around the plants will also keep diseases and fungus at bay. They love well-composted soil. Dig 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser into the soil two weeks prior to planting for a rich healthy soil base.
Rhubarb needs a period of frost to make the stems juicy and bring on stem maturity, so they grow well in temperate and cooler regions of Australia. They can be grown in warmer climates in a shadier spot. To keep the stems juicy all year round, water rhubarb regularly with a long deep watering once a week and more often during summer. Infrequent watering will make the stems dry and tasteless.
Discourage the rhubarb from flowering by picking out the flowers when they appear. Flowering stops leaf stalks production.
To harvest rhubarb, pull the stem gently from the base of the plant. Don’t harvest all the stems at once, this will compromise the plant and you will have to wait longer to harvest the next growth of stems.
Every five years, divide the plant and replant to aid longevity and vitality for each plant.
Note to remember!
Rhubarb contains oxalic acid which is poisonous if eaten raw. Always cook the leaves and stems before consuming and never cook rhubarb in an aluminium saucepan as the acid in the plant reacts with the aluminium to form a poisonous compound.