rookiegardener(z5IN)April 26, 2004

Someone gave me a rhubarb plant yesterday, it is a well established plant. I've never grown any before. Should I plant in full sun? The stalks are rather thin, is this normal to still be so thin, or perhaps this plant just needs sun or fertilizer?

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seraphima(z4 AK)

Rhubarb will grow in sun or part shade. It is a heavy feeder and likes lots of manure. By lots, I mean, plant it in a foot of manure and top dress it every year in the fall.

Rhubarb is very hardy, and makes a great extender for berry jams, used half and half. Cook the rhubarb stalks with a little water to make a sauce, then use half and half with cooked berry juice plus sugar. The stalks are also good in pies and rhubarb sauce with sugar is one of our favorites. Enjoy!

Remember only the stalks are edible, compost the leaves which are poisonous. They won't hurt the compost at all.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2004 at 6:58PM
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Thin stalks (less than 3/4 inch) on an "established" plant may be a sign of neglect, or perhaps the thick stalks were removed before it was given to you.

My house came complete with neglected rhubarb plants and I have moved them 3 times in 13 years. Two clumps produce about 20-25 pounds of stalks per year with very little fertilizer added. It sounds like yours could use an initial dose of fertilizer, but I wouldn't transplant it and drown it in fertilizer all at once. Keep it watered well and put on the bulk of the fertilizer in the fall when the leaves have died back to benefit the next year's crop.

You should notice a severed tap root during the transplant; this root should be 1-2" thick if the plant was doing well prior to being dug.

Acres of rhubarb are grown around here, always in full sun.

Your stressed plant may try to bloom--remove the bloom stalk if it occurs.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 4:05AM
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Busy_Bee_OR(z8 OR)

Maybe it is a young plant? You are not supposed to harvest the stalks for the first couple of years. Or maybe it just bloomed? Go ahead and plant it with some good aged manure and water it well. A healthy mature plant should have thick and short (10-14" long) stalks with huge leaves (leaves are poisonous though). Like Larry_Gene said, you don't want to let it flower... it takes a lot of energy away from the plant and results in thin stalks with small leaves.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 11:21AM
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You can harvest stalks right away, no need to wait for years. Just don't remove more than half of them, then wait for some new stalks to grow and harvest the old.

I measured one of my rhubarb leaves today; 26" from stem to leaf tip and 34" across. The stalk is nothing to brag about, about 1x16"!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 3:26AM
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Thanks for all the great responses, I am pretty encouraged by it all. I think it was neglected. It has been in the gound now for about 5 days, already looking better. Is it best to remove some stalks in order for it to flourish, or just leave it alone this year? If I do remove some, should I remove the stalk at ground level, or does it matter. Also, do you need to harvest by a certain point, do the stalks go bad if left on too long?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 7:35AM
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carol_the_dabbler(Z5/6 Indiana)

Rhubarb plants don't *need* to be harvested, they just don't mind it as long as they're doing well and have a few leaves to spare. If you aren't in any big hurry to eat rhubarb, you might as well give your new plant some time to settle in and photosynthesize with all its leaves intact, and then see how it's doing next spring.

I haven't even bothered to plant a rhubarb plant, because Mom has a couple and I can get all I want from her (though she keeps threatening to give one of them to me). The only feeding hers get (as far as I know) is lots of hay mulch (which decomposes with the help of earthworms into beautiful rich soil). They grow just fine without any manure. Mom's mother used to give hers the used bedding when she cleaned out the hen house, and they grew very nicely as well. So rhubarb clearly doesn't *mind* manure, either.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 12:06PM
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When removing stalks it is best to get it all by bending the stalk sideways and twisting slightly. A leftover stub could rot and affect the remaining plant, but it's not critical. In other words, pull the whole thing off; do not break it off.

Stalks are best eating if they are used as soon as they cease to get any bigger. The plant will put out just so many and then sit there. If rhubarb is not watered at least weekly during dry weather the stalks will dry out and are worthless. Squeeze your stalks, they should be firm and not compress with a little "crunching" sound.

Rhubarb plants are somewhat Biblical in that one plant can feed 5 or 10 thousand people, simply because not that many people like rhubarb, and if you find someone who likes it, they already have a plant and want to give YOU some.

As Carol says, your new plant could use a year's vacation.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 4:12AM
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One time my rhubarb plants weren't growing very fast. They were in the grass by the edge of the lawn. Then I started putting grass clippings from mowing the lawn around the rhubarb plants (several inches deep) and they really started growing. I wouldn't do this if I had used herbicides on the lawn, though.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2004 at 10:27AM
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I am giving some of mine away. How do I transplant it? It will be going out in the mail. Thanks!

Stacey =)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2004 at 3:17PM
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Rhubarb loves fertilizer and compost. I top dressed mine with 6 month aged horse manure from the compost pile. If you dont have any of that they also love lots of Mircle Grow. Really belive they are heavy feeders.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 8:40AM
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Anyone know where I can buy Canada Red.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 3:58PM
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anyone have any good ruhbarb crunch resapies? I had one but lost it. I made one from one off of the internet , and was not very good.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 4:58PM
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Rhubarb makes a great topping for vanilla ice cream. You may never make it in a pie again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Hi Ya'll, I've been making Rhubarb this and Rhubarb that. I seem to have alot of Rhubarb this year and am always lookin for more Rhubarb Recipes. I found this one and made it for a Memorial day cook out,,,it was a hit! If you like Lemon Squares you will love this recipe!

Rhubarb Dream Bars:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened

2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, confectioners' sugar and butter until it forms a dough, or at least the butter is in small crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. While this bakes, whisk together the white sugar, salt, flour and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in rhubarb to coat. Spread evenly over the baked crust when it comes out of the oven.
Bake for another 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until rhubarb is tender. Cool and cut into squares to serve. ENJOY!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Thanks for reminding me, I brought some frozen rhubarb back from Colorado. We can't raise Rhubarb here in south Texas. Tried once and the fire ants love the leaves and the roots, so they kill the plants. To grow them here we have to start them in doors in the late summer and transplant them in early spring and use as an annuals as they just don't like our hot muggy weather. I have started Rhubarb from seed in the fall up in Colorado and transplanted them the next spring. Ate rhubarb the first year as they were so large I couldn't say no. Many places in Colorado they are growing near the road and no one uses them and they do well every year. In Michigan we had the old GREEN Rhubarb. Took more sugar and grew twice the size of the red. We use to eat rhubarb Stew, just sugar and water and rhubarb. We were just old farm boys enjoying to fruits of our labors.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 2:45PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Darly - I have just made your recipe but it didn't come out too well. It was basically just like a sponge cake with a rather sweet sticky base. The rhubarb was not very noticeable. the juice from the rhubarb meant that the centre never cooked properly but stayed slopppy. How is it meant to look/turn out? And when it says 'mix' in the first part do you rub it in, cream it or what? I found that after 10 mins baking the base was still soft so the topping just mixed in with it and didn't cook separately. In the secand part how do you whisk the ingredients without getting lumps? Is it like making a batter where you make a well in the flour and mix gradually? Where was I going wrong?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 4:29PM
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I just got back from a family reunion on a farm in Missouri. We were looking at the rhubarb plants and was told that they were from a plant brought 200 years ago from our family immigrating from Germany! They offered me a stock and I just planted in in my raised garden in Colorado. What now? The plant has a good stock, a large leaf, and a large tuber. Should I cut it, or leave it alone?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 10:56PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I would just leave it alone and make sure it gets plenty of water. Ideally rhubarb should be moved when it is dormant but that information is not much use to you now. So just water it and hope.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:46PM
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What zones does rhubarb grow well in? We're from Indiana originally, and my husband loves it. Its difficult to find here and expensive when you can which makes me wonder if it grows here. We're in the upstate of SC zone 7. Thanks for your help.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 8:36PM
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I grow it in my Raleigh NC garden (zone 7b). It took a few tries to find a plant that would do well here but I now have two going strong even with this summers high heat (and it survived last summers hot & dry weather also!). I'm beginning to think the heat and humidity is not the problem at all, I think it has something to do with the soil. The only place I can get it to grow is in very rich, dark and deep soil (like they have up north), not the normal sandy or clay based soil you find down here. The green stalked kind does better for me than the red stalked and none of them in my yard taste as strong as they do up in Minnesota. The plants are beautiful and tropical looking so I will grow them no matter what they taste like.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 1:58PM
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leenda(z5 KC)

I have rhubarb that I inherited from some family member about 25 yrs ago. It is Victoria, which is an older variety. The stalks are more green than red.

I planted mine in the backyard in full sun and said, "Good luck to ya!" It has served me well. I don't feed it. I rarely water it. I have to fight the slugs for it in May and early June, but that's okay. And I get about 8 pies from it. Maybe a rhubarb upside-down cake or two.

I have learned however, that here in Kansas City, it does not like full sun. It likes part shade, so I cover it w/ a shade cloth starting in mid-July. If I keep it well watered and covered w/ the shade cloth, I get pies through August.

I have also learned to water it well one day in July, about 3o minutes, and put about 3 inches of mulch around it. It's a happy happy plant.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 11:43AM
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francis_eric(5 Illinois)

HI I have a recipe very simple takes one mintue
to make this beverage.

-- In a nut shell put rhubarb in cup put in m icrowave for 1 minute after that add sugar , honey, and cold (or hot water)
or leave plain ,an d sour
you can also freeze that gets it very mushy also(like utting it in a microwave or on a stove.

Also I can eat, and eat and not get full.
after 1 coffee cup I seem full
I learned that rhubarb has fiber must not be getting enough fiber.

Oh I have some seeds is it easy to germinate
Any advice would be of use (the seeds are in the fridge dryed)

OH the flowers taste good also. -
-root is medicinal*small quanities)


More info here about that drink ---(just riff raff)
but not much --

Here is a link that might be useful: http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/18653/t/BEVERAGE-Rhubarb-1-minute-to-process.html

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:40AM
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Anyone know where I can buy Canada Red.

St. Lawrence Nurseries lists it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Hi all, I'm new to the forum. I grew up with rhubard in Anchorage, Alaska. I am now living on the coast of North Carolina and would like to start some crowns. Can any one help me on how to accomplish this task? Should I wait till spring?

Thanks so much

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 2:33PM
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I saw Gurneys had Canadian red...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 5:05PM
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Mom - you won't be able to grow it as a perennial like you did up north. The hardest part is finding roots or plants for sale. I know people that have grown it from seed so if you can find some that it one way to grow it otherwise if you have any excuse to travel north in the fall or spring try to find a garden center or feed store that has it and buy and haul it home. I plant mine in deep dark soil that is mostly compost. I mound it up about a foot tall and plant the root near the surface at the top of the mound. I keep it well watered while it is actively growing. During the summer if the heat is getting to it (leaves laying flat on the ground and not reviving by the next morning) I dig up the roots and store them in pots inside the house or under the house in the crawlspace. You can also just keep them in pots outside and set them beside your crawlspace doorway and shove them under the house each night and drag them back out every morning. It is like the accumilation of chill hours for bulbs - the accumilation of heat hours will weaken the plant. By cooling them off each night they last longer in the heat. Its not the daytime temperature that matters, its the number of hours above a certain temperature that the plant endures (I think the cut off for rhubarb is like 85 degrees). You can force them into dormancy by chopping off all the leaves and storing the roots in dry potting soil in the house - just keep them alive until September when you can plant them outside again. House temps are usually around 70 degrees which is fine for rhubarb. The main thing is that you won't succeed with them this far south without making the extra effort. But, with just two plants you can harvest enough stalks for a years supply of pies - they are quite productive.

I buy my rhubarb roots at Logan's Trading Co in downtown Raleigh. But they only carry them in the early spring. They usually have roots in bags from two different companies. I have succeeded with both brands.

Mine do not grow during the winter. I think there just isn't enough light. They shrink back with only a few tiny leaves above ground - so, even though it is a mild winter you won't get a head start on the harvest. It takes all spring for the plants to size up. I harvest my stalks in early summer and by mid summer I am digging up the strongest plants to store in pots under the house. I have had them survive for two years left in the ground even in a record breaking hot summer but it is unreliable.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 10:03AM
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our rhubarb borders two yards and this year it got mowed over slightly on both sides.I know that can be devestating to rhubarb. Two of the plants are still thriving,two of them are starting to straggle.I put wet grass clippings around them today hoping they will spring back up...there are a couple of little shoots coming from one of the stragglers-is there hope for the two? Will the grass clippings help them spring back? Or is there something else i can do for them? I really dont want to lose it!! i have some root starter for trees-could i use a little of that? or some tomato feed? and how long do i wait to pick again? until there are shoots coming but just started or well established?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 10:45PM
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@ dkhop and flora_uk

I've been making this Rhubarb Crisp for years- it's a tried and true for sure!!

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp
(fills a 9x9 baking dish)
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut in 1 T. pieces
in a food processor, process butter into flour and sugar until butter is pea-sized, then add:
1 1/2 cup oatmeal oats (pulse a few times)
Press 1/2 of this mixture into bottom of the pan.
Slice 8 large strawberries over the crust,
Add about 2 cups sliced rhubarb.
In a saucepan, combine
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Boil til just thickened, and add 1/2 tsp vanilla. It will be clear and thickened, but not gloopy.
Sprinkle 4 T. dry Strawberry jello over rhubarb, then pour syrup over it all. Top with remaining oats mixture (don't pack down). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!! Enjoy :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 1:56PM
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I fell in love with Rhubard this last summer and I would love to plant it. Don't have a clue where to start because I want a mature plant to be able to harvest this summer.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:00PM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

Just how poisonous are rhubarb leaves? I'd like to plant them, but am worried about our compost-obsessed hens.

As it is, our hens adore oxalis, which is a huge weed here in the SF Bay Area. Isn't oxalis acid the culprit in rhubarb leaves?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 12:10PM
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