February 3, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
On that form we are offering Canada Red rhubarb plants for the first time.
Rhubarb originated in the cool highlands of China, Tibet, and Mongolia. However, the eastern trades carried the roots to Europe and they kept their source a secret. By the 1750's, rhubarb hybrids were being grown in Europe and in the new world. Ben Franklin tested plants in England and then sent some roots and seeds to a friend in Philadelphia.
Rhubarb is native to the colder regions of Asia. It grows best in regions that have cool moist summers and winters cold enough to freeze the ground to a depth of several inches. It is a member of the buckwheat family and the three commonly grown varieties are MacDonald, Chipman's Canada Red, and Valentine.
I have read that rhubarb will do as well in shade as it will in full sun, but I don't believe it. It needs a site that has well-drained fertile soil, with lots of sun. Before planting, spade the soil to a depth of 12 to 16 inches and mix in rotted manure, compost, or other forms of organic matter.
Plant the roots about three feet apart and three to four inches deep with the eyes two inches below the soil surface. Don't harvest stalks for at least two years or it may weaken the plant. When you do harvest, pull the stalks rather than cut them and leave the smaller stalks for the next year.
Remember not to eat the leaves because they contain oxalic acid, which is toxic. It's not deadly, but can make you quite sick.
If you have an established patch that is not doing well, it may need to be renewed. I had a small patch that wasn't doing anything. I dug it up and found that it was root bound. I took an ax and chopped it into several pieces, planted in full sun, and mixed in some good organic matter. I now have the best rhubarb patch I have ever had.
So if you're planning on planting grapes, raspberries, blueberries, asparagus, strawberries, onions, and oh yes, rhubarb, remember the Chisago County Master Gardeners.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.