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Rhubarb

An old-time favorite in Grandma's garden, Rhubarb's tart-bittersweet taste has wide culinary appeal. Customarily used in pies, tarts, muffins and jams with a bit of sugar and orange zest, it is finding new popularity today in a variety of nouvelle sauces and savory winter stews. This perennial must be started indoors 4 to 5 weeks before the last spring frost date in order to produce a limited number of stalks the first year and a full crop the subsequent year. To harvest, pull the shiny tender stalks out of the soil (rather than cutting them) and discard their inedible leaves to retain juiciness. Raw or cooked, Rhubarb freezes well for winter use. Deer resistant. Perennial. Hardiness zones: 3-8.

Average seed life: 2 years.

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Gardening Tips

Rhubarb Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Row Spacing:36”-48”
Plant Spacing:12”-24”
Days to Germination:6-18 days
Germination Temperature:70°F

Encased in paper-like shells, Rhubarb seeds should be soaked for 24 hours before planting. Start indoors as transplants 5 weeks before the last frost date. Sow 3 seeds 1⁄2" deep in 4" pots. Cover with soil, tamp down and provide 70°F temperatures, strong light, good air circulation and uniformly moist soil until seedlings emerge. After 2 weeks, thin each pot to the strongest plant. After all danger of frost has passed, harden plants off by gradually acclimating them to the outdoors over 7 to 10 days. Amend the soil as necessary with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure. Transplant 12" apart in rich, well-draining soil and full to partial sunlight. Water and feed regularly. Mulch. To harvest, pull the shiny, green to rosy-red, 18" stalks out of the soil (rather than cutting them) and discard their poisonous leaves.

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