The great mixer, rhubarb, gives back much more than it takes. A little thought when planting and some initial patience will be rewarded with 20 years of loyal and lucious supply.
Rhubarb is the “pie plant” that, with a minimum of maintenance, just keeps on giving.
If I am asked what my favourite plant is, a list immediately appears in my mind and the more I think on the question the longer the list gets, making it impossible to give any reasonable response.
I suppose it is like asking a musician what their favourite song is, and most musos I know answer, “It depends on the mood.”
As a gardener, there are those plants that you find just a sheer pleasure to grow. In the vegie patch most plants are grown as annuals that tend to require a bit of work so it is quite refreshing when you can grow crops that take very little effort.
Any small treat that you give them is rewarded with a ton of food and if the plants are treated well you only need plant them once.
A good example of this is rhubarb.
It is also known as the pie plant, probably because of its superb compatibility with other fruit, pastry products and baking. My nanna was the one who introduced me to rhubarb, her apple and rhubarb crumble was so smooth it would make you weep.
Rhubarb will grow best in a deep, moist, fertile soil that is slightly acidic, although I have found that it is pretty tolerant of many soil types as long as it have adequate drainage. You can it them from seed although itmay not grow true to type, meaning the seedling will differ from the parent and it can also be a few years before you get a harvest.
Rhubarb is best grown from a crown that can be divided off an established plant, and now is a perfect time as they are dormant or at least resting.
They divide very easily — just lift the plant from the ground and cut or break off a section no smaller than around 10cm with at least one healthy eye.
All you have to remember when feeding your rhubarb is that it is a glutton! I like to give my plants a bag or two of manure in spring and a couple of doses of blood and bone throughout the growing