With a quick search on various food recipe sites I was amazed to see the number of different dishes you can create with Rhubarb. Usually rhubarb was always reserved for pies in my household, but you can do so much more with it.
I find rhubarb will grow best for you if you can pick up a few starter plants from a local home or garden center. Keep in mind that rhubarb is a perennial (it will return year after year) and loves to spread out fairly quickly, so plan your garden accordingly. Here is how you can add rhubarb to your backyard home vegetable garden.
Rhubarb likes soil to be on the more acidic side around the 5.5 to 6.5 range on the pH scale. You can simply test your soil with a home soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for just a couple of bucks. Once you have the reading of your soil follow the instructions on the kit to raise or lower the soil's pH level as needed.
Plant the roots of your rhubarb plant in the springtime at least one inch deep and no deeper than three inches in an area of the garden that receives light shade to full sun. A lot of gardeners I talk to like to plant rhubarb on the outer edge of the garden by itself and space them out two to three feet.
Once planted, make sure you water it well so the soil where the rhubarb is growing is constantly moist. As the rhubarb grows it will develop flowering shoots. Cut these shoots off as they are not needed.
Avoid harvesting rhubarb in the first year and in your second year only take a few so the rhubarb has time to really spread in subsequent years. Starting in year 3 you can really begin to harvest plenty of rhubarb and then every 5 years thin back your rhubarb by removing some of the plants. If it gets too overgrown the rhubarb won't develop properly.
Since Rhubarb is a perennial crop there is no need for crop rotation or companion planting. Just make sure you feed your rhubarb with a good supply of compost. It will thank you with tasty rhubarb for years to come.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike`s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.