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Rhubarb

UK Garden Centre - Information about using Rhubarb as a fruit

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Though a vegetable, rhubarb is always used as a fruit. As it can be forced during winter in warmth or in the open, it is one of the most valuable crops, and the first outdoor rhubarb always enjoys a welcome. Again, it may be grown in a shady corner where little else will grow. It will also grow well in any soil. It requires plenty of humus to maintain summer moisture and for it to make those thick, juicy sticks so much in demand for stewing or for pies and tarts. So dig in plenty of farmyard manure or shoddy or garden compost and give the roots a mulch in summer.
Rhubarb roots or thongs must contain an ‘eye’ which will produce a stick. Without this there will be no plant. The roots are planted any time from late October until January whilst dormant, for they begin to grow with the first warm spring sunshine. Plant 60cm (2ft) apart with the ‘eye’ or bud just below soil level, but make the hole deep enough to take the long root.
At planting time, give a 132g per sq m (4oz per sq yd) dressing of basic slag, which rhubarb loves for it releases its nitrogen content over a long time.
Pull no sticks the first year and only a few in the second year. By then, the roots will be established and a dozen sticks or more can be removed in the year.
After four years, the roots will have grown to 45cm (18in) across. To prevent them becoming too hard and woody, lift in winter and divide with a knife or spade, remembering that each piece of root must have at least one ‘eye’. Treat the cut parts with lime or flowers of sulphur before replanting.

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