I must be a child of the seventies – I just cannot say ‘Rhubarb’ once! More on that later. Rhubarb is a gem in your garden – perennial, forgiving, and an instant dessert or breakfast hero. Here are some top tips, and now is a perfect time to plant them.
LEVEL ZERO ESSENTIAL INFO:
🌿A permanent plant in the same bed for 5 years plus.
🌿The part we eat are the stalks.
🌿Edible stalks are high in fibre and vitamins, esp the Bs, but very low in calories.
⚠️The leaves are TOXIC and must not be eaten or given to animals.
🌿Hardy to the frost but can be covered with a pot in snow.
🌿More shoots develop off the sides of the clump
🌿After about 5 years, we dig up the clump, divide the plant into separate shoots and replant.
🌿Rhubarb is forgiving but loves water in the heat, and a chilly winter.
Our rhubarb mothership just keeps on giving – every season, whatever the weather – it is an engine of tasty goodness. Be aware that many rhubarbs can slow down growth quite a bit during winter, but for some reason, ours refuses – not that we are complaining.Next winter is the next chance to lift and divide, and we will be offering them for sale in the garden shop then. 👍
🌿TOP TIPS for starting your first rhubarb
➡️Rhubarb is highly recommended in the Level Zero garden – doesn’t need a lot of attention besides regular harvesting -YUM- and some extra water in hot weather, BUT OUR BEST ADVISE is to trade or purchase from someone who has a mature proven performer, or seek out a heritage variety that is known to produce well. Many regular nursery stocks have been grown from seed and may not be robust or tasty.
➡️As with our other Level Zero parmanent (perennial) plantings, the best first step is to trench the bed well to get as much food in there as possible for the plant to munch on through those five years – sure there will be chances to add things, but it is a good first step, whether in a garden bed or a pot, to give it the best start possible.
➡️Rhubarb blooms in summer, but as soon as the green flower spike goes up, production of the tasty stalks drops off, so it is best to break that central flower spike at the bottom to extend your harvest.
➡️Most folks are familiar with the sweet ways to cook rhubarb – jams, deserts and even wine, but without the sugar, rhubarb is also great in meat dishes and targines.
📺 Rhubarb, Rhubarb
So, where does ‘Rhubarb, Rhubarb’ come from? If you watched TV in Australia during the seventies, you will have heard of the work of Eric Sykes, who made a short film called The Plank. He also made one called Rhubarb, Rhubarb in the 60s, and remade in 1980..
It is a jest built on a film-making habit to get extras to use the generic word ‘rhubarb’ as a filler to create unintelligible background chatter. It became a euphemism for meaningless polite conversation. He decided that the ONLY words in his film would be ‘rhubarb,rhubarb’. 😆 There is even a song we can all remember singing… 🎶”Rhubarb, rhubarb, it all sounds like rhubarb to me, to me…”🎶
🤓LEVEL UP PLANT NERDY DETAILS:
Rhubarb is a hardy herbaceous rhizomateous member of the perennial Polygonaceae (Buckwheat) family, with anemophilous (wind-pollinated) inflorescence that are also self-fertile. Toxic levels of oxalic acid in the leaves make them inedible.
Look wide; grow well, folks 🌿