aj3080October 1, 2009

Has anyone had any luck growing rhubarb in the valley?

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Rhubarb is tough in the Valley, because the best crops come with long day lengths and cool weather--sort of mutually exclusive in the desert! However, there are ways to coax at least a partial crop out of the ground.
Look for seedlings of "cherry" rhubarb in the fall (may be hard to find) and plant them where they will get sun up until noon, and then shade at least until 5:00 pm--50% shade cloth will also work. A good soil mix for in the ground is 1 part sand, 2 parts native soil, and 3 parts peat moss. Also add soil sulfur at a rate of 2 pounds per square foot. Mix that all together thoroughly, then scratch about 1/2 inch of the mix into the bottom of the bed, to make a transition zone for drainage, then fill the bed.
They will look stalled over the winter, but they will be increasing their root mass and stored energy. Come spring (March or April) they will put on vigorous new growth, and at least some of the stalks will get thick enough to harvest. A 2-3 inch thick mulch of ground bark or pecan shells will extend the season and encourage thicker stalks. Summer survival is rare, but possible.
"Strawberry" rhubarb roots are even harder to find in the fall, and don't usually put on much weight over the winter. Unless you have an exceptional microclimate, "strawberry" rhubarb is unlikely to work well here.
I hope your plans come together on that! : ])

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 6:07PM
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Sounds like you need to find a friend in Pinetop :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2009 at 11:31AM
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