Posts Tagged ‘rhubarb’

Rhubarb

Over the mother’s day weekend I made the brief trip out to my hometown to have supper with my parents.  I also had a secondary motive — bring back plants.  Rhubarb and strawberry plants are fairly abundant on my parents property.  There are a few large rhubarbs that we had taken from my grandparents yard after they passed on and some in the empty lot next to the house.

Although I originally wanted to take some divisions from my grandparents plants, for sentimental reasons I guess, the little plants in the empty lot were the ones I chose.  First of all, they were easier to dig up because they were in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t want to hack up the other ones that weIMG_0824re in the middle of a bed.  Second, I felt bad for them; they were in a north facing exposure with little direct light and were buried under years of fallen leaves.  Those plants were neglected and needed a little bit of help.  And third, I recall those plants having nice, juicy red stalks while the other ones were always a bit more stringy and green.

Armed with a spade and a few left over gallon pots from the hedge planting last year I hacked those two plants into roughly 6 pieces.  They popped out of the ground with little effort but had some hella thick roots on them.  I shoved them into the pots and wrapped them in plastic bags to retain moisture on the trip back.  Now I’m a big fan of leaving places as good or better than they are and spreading the wealth around, so I didn’t totally ravage the rhubarb patches.  I left a few root pieces in each hole and firmed the earth back around them.  In a year or two they’ll be good as new and producing all the more for it.

Now this trip was a little spur of the moment so I didn’t have any rhubarb beds planned back in the city.  What to do with six rhubarb plants?  I kind of wanted to plant them beside the asparagus because they’re both perennials and it seemed logical.  That spot, however, is fairly shaded by some enormous pine trees until about 12:30 and I know that rhubarb does best in full sun.  The fact that I also really like the look of rhubarb, with its thick red stalks and wide, crinkly leaves made me put it right in the front of the yard where there is a gap in the hedge.  I plan to put a path through the gap eventually and a huge rhubarb on either side will look fantastic.   The remaining plants went back in the shade area near the asparagus, so it’ll be a nice comparison to see just how important all day sun is to these plants.  IMG_0826

Holes for all were dug roughly the same.  The sunny area had a nice, well drained loam that I augmented with leaves and rotted manure and the shady area was a thicker clay so I added even more leaves, manure and some previously removed sod to add organic material.  Soil was replaced to the crowns and a thorough water went on each plant.

The result — fantastic.  I know these plants are really small (they were on a north facing location, remember) but they’ll really take off here, I can feel it.  Plus they’re the first food plant I’ve put into my yard that I can actually see and not just try to remember where I put the seeds! 

Now I just need to plant those strawberries and we’ll be making pie in no time.   

If you have any other good rhubarb recipes shoot me a comment.IMG_0825

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