Rhubarb in OK?

ejm135(6b)June 24, 2013

Has anyone tried growing rhubarb in OK?

I see it in grocery stores here occasionally, but it was a staple where I grew up in northern MN and a sign winter was (finally) over. I've never seen it here - wild or otherwise. Went up there to visit my parents last week and brought back about 10lbs to be turned into all the endless good things rhubarb can be turned in to and now I want (no, I NEED) to grow some here.

I consulted my dad who is a big gardener up there and we were trying to decide if our winter "chilling period" is long enough for it. It needs around 14 weeks of "refrigerator" soil temps. I'm in eastern OK and think I might be on the edge of making it work - perhaps with a deep layer of mulch over the plant once the cooler temps have set in to keep the cold in? Thoughts? Experiences? Anyone else's mouth watering at the thought of strawberry rhubarb pie?!

Elaine

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soonergrandmom

Elaine, I don't think it is the cold that it the problem, it is the heat. I have planted it twice and the first time I made it to the 2nd summer with it. Maybe if you could protect it from the hot afternoon sun and give it plenty of water you could grow it. I think I have heard Dawn say that she grows it as an annual, so maybe she will chime in and tell us how she does it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:42PM
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kfrinkle

I have rhubarb in my garden, third year now which i started from seed from my grandfathers patch in Michigan, which is over fifty years old. The key in the summer is to use shade cloth, water plenty, and baby it. My patch, as small as it is right now, is also under about six inches of goat manure.

We were up in Michigan late May this year, and i brought back seventy five pounds of rhubarb.....

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:32PM
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OklaMoni

I have absolutely no luck with it here. I understand, it is the heat.

Moni

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I sow seed in flats in the summer, put young plants in the ground in September (sometimes August), water them well to help them get established, mulch them and usually have them survive the winter even though they are small. Then, they grow in spring and I harvest it and use it before mid-summer....definitely before August. Even in morning sun and afternoon shade, I cannot get it through the early August heat. Our August weather the last few years has included highs in the 108-115 degree range and I can tell you for a fact that rhubarb doesn't like those temperatures. I have been growing it in amended clay and it is impossible to water the clay enough in summer. It might do better in sandy loam or well-amended sun.

My formerly Yankee, rhubarb-eating husband doesn't get nearly as much Rhubarb as he'd like from our garden, but since he is the only one who eats it.....what little he gets is all his....every last bite of it.

There was one time I kept some going for three years. I think it was 2004-2005-2006, which was a wet-dry-dry combination of years, but the heat wasn't insane like it has been the last few summers. I didn't raise those plants from seed. I bought the roots in the store in January when all the bulb type stuff arrived. I didn't start raising it from seed until I started treating it like an annual.

I might be able to get it through the summer by babying it more than I do, but we have a big garden and a big yard (acres) to mow and I am just one person, so nothing gets babied too much. There's just not enough time to baby stuff along.

Dawn

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:35PM
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ejm135(6b)

I never thought to grow it as an annual - that's interesting since everyone's plants back home have the story of being cut from their father's or grandfather's or great-grandfather's (such a nostalgic weed)!

We lucked out with pretty decent soil for Oklahoma and have a seep/underground spring that runs across our property into the woods to a cattle pond. I'm thinking if maybe I plant it at the edge of the woods near that seep and mulch it really well it might stay cool/wet enough to get through the summer.

As much as I love it, it seems downright wrong to grow it in the garden with the rest of the plants - everyone I knew had a patch of rhubarb, but it was always along the edge of the property or hidden in the woods somewhere!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 3:27PM
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