Rhubarb

We've been valiantly trying for quite a few years to grow rhubarb. With the exception of one plant, nothing survived. Then last year, the final plant (four years old and I pulled some stalks for the first time) finally died. We've still optimistically planted 7 or 8 new roots and right now they've all stuck their heads out of the ground.
We live in Zone 7. We have followed all planting advice as to hole depth, working in compost and/or manure, etc., etc. Are we in the wrong climate, since the summers do get pretty hot?
Any tips would be appreciated.
Dora
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posted a recommendation about a variety that grows in the South. She's a treasure about sharing such information. :)
John
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messageexception of one plant, nothing survived. Then last year, the final plant (four years old and I pulled some stalks for the first time) finally died. We've still optimistically planted 7 or 8 new roots and right now they've all stuck their heads out of the ground.
We live in Zone 7. We have followed all planting advice as to hole depth, working in compost and/or manure, etc., etc. Are we in the wrong climate, since the summers do get pretty hot?
Any tips would be appreciated.
Dora posted a recommendation about a variety that grows in the South. She's a treasure about sharing such information. :)
John
Rhubarb is not a finicky plant. It can be grown ANYWHERE, although cool seasons and freezing winters are most to it's liking. (I grew it very very well in the sandy alkeline soil in Denver) The cold produces a delicate pink shade on the stalks and makes them look quite appetizing.
Rhubaby is usually propagated by division of the fleshy roots known as corms. Each piece must have a good, strong eye. In most temperate regions, the corms are planted in early spring, but in milder regions, they can be planted in late autumn after the foliage of the mother plants has died down. Select a rich, well-drained, loamy soil (sand, compost, humus) well supplied with organic matter if you can. Plant the corms about THREE OR FOUR INCHES DEEP or so that the buds are TWO INCHES below the surface. (they're like peonies in that aspect) Distance between them is four to five feet and between plants within the row, two to three feet depending on the richness of the soil and the vigor of the varieties selected.
Do not pull rhubarb from first year or crown piece settings. First year roots should have their initial growing season to develop firm roots to put forth more leaf and top growth. Feed plants regularly from year to year, heaping compost or manure around the plants in the fall and incorporating it in early spring. Remove the flower stalks as soon as they appear, for, though they are striking and ornamental, they exhaust the plant and tend to lessen the quality of the edible stalks. Rhubarb patches will continue to produce for many years, though some growers prefer to divide clumps after five or six years and replant the divisions in an enriched, loamy, sandy soil.
For winter harvests or early spring crops, rhubarb can be forced. Select two or three year old roots in the fall and plant them in a shallow box. Cover them with about one inch of light soil, peat or sand, and let them remain out of doors until several light frosts have occurred. Then, bring these roots indoors and plant them in pots or plants and place them in a warm, dark cellar or a hot bed.
A much simpler, though perhaps less reliable, meathod of forcing involves simply placing a keg or bucket over the crowns where they grow in the garden, piling fresh manure around the bucket and mulching with straw. This provides the necessary warmth and forces the plant to seek the light by growing taller than if left in the open. If the bucket is set over the crowns in late February, fresh 'barb can be harvested by as early as mid-March.

They need to be in direct sunlight. strong east, south or western is best.
Marilyn "madgardener"
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