The Q&A Archives: rhubarb plants

Question: been at this gardening for 37 years, since married, we live on a farm planted 6 roots along the edge of garden and they grew like wild had enough to share with neighbors, tore down old house and built a new one
13 years ago and the garden then became foundation for new grain bins. planted a new garden
south side of new home, and cannot get a rhubarb
root to grow, have tried for the last 6 yrs

Answer: Rhubarb is hardy as a weed so I can understand your disappointment! Excellent drainage is necessary for plant health and good growth so I wonder if the site you've choosen doesn't drain as well as the original site? You can try amending the planting bed with lots of organic matter (aged manure, compost, etc.) or you might try raising the level of the bed - sort of like a raised bed without sides - to help with the drainage. The University of Illinois extension office recommends the following varieties for your area:

Red Petioles (leafstalks): Canada Red (long, thick stalks, extra sweet);Cherry Red (rich red inside and out);Crimson Red (tall, plump petioles);MacDonald (tender skin; brilliant red); Ruby; Valentine (petioles 22 by 1-1/2 inches, good flavor).

Green Petioles: Victoria (shaded with red).

Plant in the early spring with the crown bud 2 inches below the surface of the soil. Space the roots 36 to 48 inches apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Good garden drainage is essential and planting on raised beds ensures against rotting of the crown.

Hope this information helps!

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