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Growing Rhubarb

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                    P P

(Best months for growing Rhubarb in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant crowns

  • Easy to grow. Plant pieces of rhizome or roots 8 - 10 cm (3 - 4 in.) deep. Best planted at soil temperatures between 41°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 35 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 1 years. You will have a stronger plant if you leave it for about a year before using..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc)
  • Young rhubarb
  • Rhubarb Plant

Rhubarb is easy to grow in cool climates and is a perennial. Rhubarb can be left in the ground and will return a crop for many years, at least 10 to 15 years (We have one that is more than 20 yrs old). Rhubarb is quite a hardy crop but the crown will rot if in heavy wet clay soils. It can cope with dry periods. Plant in good soil and remove as many weeds as possible. Do not disturb rhubarb roots when cultivating round the plant. Better in cooler climates, but can be grown in shady areas of warm climates. You can lift and divide rhubarb to make more plants . It is best to do this when the plant is dormant ( or at least less actively growing) in winter or late autumn. It is best to wait until a plant is about 5 years old before dividing the crown but it can be moved at any age. Some of the root structure will be damaged when lifting it, so stalk production will not be so good for a few months. If you have mild winters and your rhubarb is still producing new stalks, you can continue to pick it. Although rhubarb is used in desserts and jams, it is considered a vegetable because the stalks are used not the fruit.

NB Do not eat the leaves or roots as they contain oxalic acid which is poisonous. They should not be fed to poultry or stock either.

Remove flower stalks as they appear as the plant will stop producing leaf stalks when flowering.

Rhubarb can be 'forced' by covering dormant crowns with clay pots or a cloche in early spring.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rhubarb

Pick stems about the thickness of your finger. Large stems will have tough 'strings' down the length of them.
Use in pies, crumbles, fools and jams. Rhubarb goes well with orange.
Will usually need sweetener.

Your comments and tips

14 Dec 19, Brian Cossill (New Zealand - temperate climate)
ruhbarb doesn't need any thing done to your plant in NZ other than water fortnightly cheers Brian
09 Dec 19, Brian Cossill (New Zealand - temperate climate)
is there any sense in using a rhubarb forcer to increase the length of the stalks during the growing season in NZ cheers Brian
12 Dec 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Read up about what a forcer does on the net.
10 Dec 19, Anon (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I suggest you google rhubarb forcer and read what it does.
07 Oct 19, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
https://www.tuigarden.co.nz/how-to-guide/rhubarb-growing-guide/ Here is a website about growing it. Do some research about growing it. Read a lot of different websites about what is required to grow it.
30 Aug 19, Katharin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Harvesting notes say do not harvest rhubarb until a year old ! So what does that mean ? ie if I buy plants from garden centre I’m guessing already a year old ??? Maybe . Or does it mean once a crown is planted in my garden leave for first year . I have planted crowns given to me but didn’t do well so have moved ... now looking better , I have a variety of plants from garden centres , markets etc . I’m confused as too what year I can start harvesting. Some of it this season we hope ... how will we know . ?
03 Sep 19, anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have not seen rhubarb growing for 50+ years but I would guess it depends on the size of the crown and how fat/big and healthy the stalks/crown looks. I bought asparagus crowns - about 50mm diameter - how old probably 6-9 mths. I grew some from seed and at 12 mths they were 150mm dia. Judge by how good the plant looks.
28 Nov 18, Heather (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
We have just arrived In New Zealand and our place has a rhubarb plant in the garden. I have been trying to find out how to look after it and I think I have that information but I can't find out the best time to harvest the rhubarb in New Zeland. Can you help tell me when to harvest please? Thank you.
29 Nov 18, Mike (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
It says dormant during winter so when it has a good production of leaves/stalks in the spring you could start harvesting depending on the age/size of the crown. Probably ease off harvesting late autumn. Other people here might have a better idea than me as I don't grow it.
14 Jul 18, christine cunliffe (New Zealand - temperate climate)
can you grow rhubarb in shade
Showing 1 - 10 of 26 comments

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