Rhubarb: Simple Tips for Planting and Breeding Methods
Rhubarb petioles appear on our table in early spring. This is perhaps the very first crop of greens that gardeners collect after a winter cold. Juicy sour flesh of rhubarb stalks is used as a vitamin supplement in vegetable salads, and with the addition of sugar it is an excellent dessert or filling for pies. Planting rhubarb and caring for it in the open ground will not require much effort from the summer resident, while a few tricks can be used when growing a crop.
What is rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a perennial herbaceous plant in the buckwheat family. It is found in the wild from Siberia to the Himalayas, and as a cultivar, it is grown in most of our country and in Europe.
Perennial rhubarb rhizomes are powerful and short, but quite branchy. The basal reddish petioles with large wavy leaves collected in a rosette die off in the winter. Flowering occurs on stems emerging from the center of the outlet. Large paniculate inflorescences of white, greenish, less often pink color form seeds by autumn. To extend the growing season, flowering arrows break out. To obtain seeds, leave no more than one peduncle per bush.
Pink rhubarb inflorescences add decorativeness to the bush
For food use young petioles of rhubarb, which appear in early spring. A large number of vitamins and minerals of this plant makes up for the deficiency of nutrients in the spring diet. Stalks are used for the preparation of vegetable and fruit salads, soups, juices, compotes, jelly and toppings for pies. The use of rhubarb with some diseases has a therapeutic effect. It is recommended for constipation, anemia, stagnation of bile and impaired metabolism. For therapeutic purposes, the roots of the plant are also used. However, it must be remembered that the use of this plant in large quantities may be contraindicated in children, pregnant women and people suffering from gastritis with high acidity and peptic ulcer. With kidney stones and gall bladder, various bleeding, rheumatism, diabetes mellitus, it is better to abandon the use of rhubarb.
For cooking, cut petioles finely chopped with a knife
Choosing a place in the garden for rhubarb, it is necessary to take into account the size of the future plant, and this is a rather massive bush and an area of at least 1 m2 will be required. The location is sunny, but partial shade is also possible. Soil prefers light, slightly acidic and fertile. Given that rhubarb has been growing in one place for 10-12 years, the site for planting must be properly prepared. For digging, add a bucket of compost or rotted manure, 100 g of universal mineral fertilizer and dolomite flour, per 1 m2 of land, the amount of which depends on the acidity of the soil. On heavy clay soils it is necessary to add river sand.
Rhubarb will appreciate the sunny location, but put up with partial shade
Dolomite flour is an organic fertilizer that normalizes the acidity of the soil. At the same time, it enriches the soil with many useful trace elements and improves the structure of the upper layer. The introduction of dolomite flour helps to improve metabolic processes, increase the yield and its quality, develop the root system of the plant, and also successfully fights weeds and harmful ground insects. The amount of fertilizer applied is calculated taking into account the acidity and soil texture.
Video: rhubarb - benefits, cultivation, use
When determining a place for rhubarb, it is very important to take into account the level of groundwater - it should be low, and the possibility of spring flooding or stagnation of rainwater is completely excluded. Even short-term flooding by spring water can destroy the plant. The rhubarb is drought tolerant, but in dry periods it needs to be watered, otherwise the petioles will lose their juiciness and become inedible, and the whole plant does not develop well with a water shortage.
I really love rhubarb and not only for its taste and useful properties. In our steppe zone with a sharply continental climate, where in the summer + 40 ° C and -40 ° C happen in winter quite often, few plants are striking in their beauty, except for flowers. Rhubarb looks like a real Tropican here - huge, shriveled, burdock leaves with red petioles will decorate any part of the garden. I took my rhubarb from my parents in the country. In the spring I dug up a large bush, cut it into three parts and planted it at home. All three plants began and grew over the summer. Winter was relatively mild and snowy and I didn’t worry that my bushes could suffer from frost. But in the spring an unprecedented flood occurred, and the water came from the fields, since we do not have a river nearby. Only three days my rhubarb flooded, but that was enough - all three bushes died. So I had to make my own experience - rhubarb really does not like stagnant water. In all other respects, he is rather unpretentious and I will definitely put him in a good, safe place again.
Thanks to large original leaves, rhubarb can become an accent in the design composition
Methods of breeding rhubarb
Rhubarb is propagated in two ways - by sowing seeds and dividing the bush (rhizome). The second method is simpler and more preferable, since the separated plant will retain all the species qualities of the mother's outlet, and the first petioles will be ready for cutting by next year. For plants grown by seed, it will take 3-4 years for the full development of the bush.
How to plant rhubarb seeds
For sowing rhubarb seeds can be bought in gardening stores, where a large assortment of varieties of various manufacturers. Rhubarb seeds are sown in spring or late autumn, on frozen ground. To do this, they assign a small distribution bed, add compost, fertilizers and dig it well. During spring sowing, seeds need preliminary stratification - keeping the seeds for two months at a temperature of 0 to + 5 ° C.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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In spring, rhubarb seeds are sown in late April - early May.
Step-by-step process of sowing seeds:
- Soak the seeds 3-4 days before sowing, spread them on a damp cloth and periodically spraying.
- On the bed, prepare grooves at a distance of 20 cm from each other.
- Spill the grooves with water and spread the seeds in moist soil.
- Sprinkle grooves with soil so that the layer above the seeds is no more than 2-3 cm.
- After the appearance of the first leaves, the seedlings are thinned out, leaving a distance between the shoots of 20 cm.
Germinated seeds are sown on a prepared bed
With autumn sowing, the event is held at the end of October or in November. Dry seeds are laid out in rows in the same way as in spring sowing, but they are not watered, but simply sprinkled with a small layer of earth. In spring, seedlings are thinned out and looked after in the usual way.
On a distribution bed, young rhubarb sockets remain until next spring. In the summer they need to be watered, loosened, freed from weeds. Several times during the summer it is advisable to feed mineral and organic fertilizers in turn. In winter, if there is a chance of severe frost, you can cover the planting with dry foliage and agrofibre.
In the spring, after warming up the soil, usually at the end of April or in May, young outlets are planted in a permanent place. When planting, it is important not to deepen the plant, leaving a layer of soil above the upper bud of no more than 2 cm.
Reproduction by dividing the bush
Rhubarb can be propagated by dividing the bush in spring, in April – May, or in autumn in September. In the first year after planting, do not cut off the petioles, as the plant should grow strong and grow well. And later, when harvesting, do not get too carried away - you can cut from the bush no more than 1/3 of the total number of petioles.
The process of dividing the bush:
- Dig up an adult rhubarb bush.
- Free the rhizome from the ground.
- With a sharp knife, divide the plant into parts so that each has at least one living bud.
- Sprinkle the slices with crushed charcoal or slightly air dry.
- Dig holes with a depth of 50 cm at a distance of 80 cm from each other and fill with soil mixed with compost and fertilizers.
- Land the shares in the prepared pits. In heavy soils, the kidney should not be buried more than 5 cm, in light soils - 7–8 cm.
- Water the planted plants and mulch the soil.
From one rhubarb bush you can get up to 10 divisions
Very often, in order to propagate rhubarb, you do not need to dig out the entire plant, but only transplant one part.
The process of transplanting parts of a plant:
- Use a sharp shovel to cut off the divider and carefully dig it out.
- Slices of the mother bush and the dug part are powdered with crushed charcoal.
- Sprinkle a hole formed at the mother’s bush with soil.
- Plant the divide in the prepared place, water and mulch.
Compatibility with other plants in the garden
Gardeners have long noticed that plants planted nearby have a certain effect on each other and not always positive. Some help neighbors cope with some diseases and dare harmful insects, while others, on the contrary, inhibit or are struck by common diseases. Therefore, when planting any plants, it’s nice to ask what you can plant next to.
Rhubarb coexists nicely with herbs
Rhubarb has an impressive list of unwanted neighbors. It should not be planted next to cucumbers, turnips, beets, celery, peas, potatoes, carrots, onions and tomatoes. The neighborhood with beans, lettuce, spinach and all kinds of cabbage, except for Beijing, is quite successful.
It is worth planting rhubarb once in your area, and this unpretentious plant will delight owners with juicy, tasty petioles for many years. Care for it is minimal, and this is a very valuable quality for forever busy gardeners. Early greens, a lot of useful trace elements and vitamins, as well as decorative leaves make this plant indispensable in any garden.