Tino Carnevale:

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.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING -

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

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