How do I grow Rhubarb and care for it?
Given the right conditions, rhubarb is a relatively easy crop to grow that will continue producing for a number of years. Rhubarb prefers rich, organic, free draining soil in a spot that gets full sun. Add plenty of compost into the soil before planting with some Garden TimeTM Chicken and Sheep Pellets.
Rhubarb is a ‘gross feeder’ so feed regularly with Garden TimeTM Compost and again, apply organic fertilisers like the chicken and sheep pellets in early spring and autumn.
If rhubarb plants dry out, they will collapse very quickly. They require regular deep watering during hot, dry Canterbury summers, finished with a good layer of mulch on top. Mulch helps water retention during hot summer days and stops plants from drying out.
Remove the outer growth even if you are not using them, to encourage vigorous new stems to develop. Only eat the stems; the rhubarb leaves are highly toxic so don’t feed them to animals (or humans!). Instead, pop them in your compost bin. In some parts of New Zealand during winter, rhubarb plants can look rather sad, but by spreading side dressing of the above organic fertilisers in early spring, the plants will quickly recover and flourish in time for summer.
You may need to replant your rhubarb every 4-5 years, however some plants can last much longer.