Rhubarb, often called pie plant, is a cold-season, perennial that is extremely winter hardy and drought tolerant.

The crop is produced from spring into summer from crowns consisting of buds and fleshy rhizomes. The bright red stalks are used in cooking, baking, and preserves. The leaves are toxic and should never be eaten.

Planting: Plant in early spring with crown 1-2 inches below the surface in well amended soil. Space plants 2-4 foot apart with 3-4 foot between rows. Mature plants will grow 3 foot tall by 4 foot wide so allow plenty of space.

Select an area of full sun (at least 6 hours per day) and water thoroughly after planting. Do not harvest during the first year as the plant needs to devote all its energy to root development.

Culture: Rhubarb will tolerate most soils but grows best in fertile, well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. It prefers lightly to moderately acid soil with a liberal application of fertilizer every spring.

Beginning the second year stalks may be harvested individually over a 4-6 week period, or the entire plant stripped at once. Tug leaves side-to-side and out rather than cutting to avoid leaving ends to rot on the plant. Rhubarb is extremely tough and will thrive even when somewhat neglected.


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