The Q&A Archives: Growing Rhubarb

Question: What is the best soil preparation and food for rhubarb plants?

Answer: Rhubarb plants prefer rich, deep, well-drained soil. Be sure to add some compost or other organic matter to the soil before planting. They like some shade from the hot afternoon sun, and lots of water. If you're planting from dormant root divisions, set them with their buds 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Set plants 4 feet apart. After plants sprout, mulch over the root zone with a loose organic mulch such as straw.?Each spring and fall, topdress around the plants with a few inches of rich compost or composted manure to enrich the soil. ?Plants should be allowed to grow for two years before any stalks are harvested.?When you do harvest, grasp the stalk at the lowest part and pull, rather than cut, the stalk from the plant. If a flowering stem grows from the center of the plant, cut it down as soon as it appears. Otherwise the rhubarb plant will put all of its energy into producing flowers instead of edible stalks.

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