Rhubarb thrives best in regions having cool moist summers and
winters cold enough to freeze the ground to a depth of several
inches. It is not adapted to most parts of the South, but in
certain areas of higher elevation it does fairly well. A few hills
along the garden fence will supply all that a family can use.
Any deep, well-drained, fertile soil is suitable for rhubarb.
Spade the soil or plow it to a depth of 12 to 16 inches and mix in
rotted manure, leaf mold, decayed hardwood leaves, sods, or other
form of organic matter. The methods of soil preparation suggested
for asparagus are suitable for rhubarb. As rhubarb is planted in
hills 3 to 4 feet apart, it is usually sufficient to prepare each
Rhubarb plants may be started from seed and transplanted, but
seedlings vary from the parent plant. The usual method of starting
the plants is to obtain pieces of crowns from established hills
and set them in prepared hills. Top-dress the planting with a
heavy application of organic matter in either early spring or late
Organic matter applied over the hills during early spring
greatly hastens growth, or forces the plant.
A pound of complete commercial fertilizer high in nitrogen
applied around each hill every year insures an abundant supply of
plant food. The plants can be mulched with green grass or weeds.
Remove seed stalks as soon as they form. No leaf stems should be
harvested before the second year and but few until the third.
Moreover, the harvest season must be largely confined to early
spring. The hills should be divided and reset every 7 or 8 years.
Otherwise, they become too thick and produce only slender stems.
Use only the leafstalk as a food. Rhubarb leaves contain
injurious substances, including oxalic acid. Never use them for
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