What to know about growing rhubarb – Press Company


Q: Is it feasible to improve rhubarb in Southern California?

A: Most of the rhubarb that is developed commercially in the United States comes from Washington, Oregon, and Michigan – states with significantly far more rainfall and cooler temperatures than Southern California. It is probable to expand it in specified pieces of California, but it almost certainly will not thrive like it does in colder, wetter locations.

Rhubarb is considered a hardy interesting time perennial that is fairly frost resistant. It is commonly propagated through crowns planted only 3-6 inches deep in early spring. Seed is also accessible, but your benefits may range. It prefers fertile, effectively-drained, slightly acid (pH 6-7) soil.

When daytime temperatures slide beneath 40 degrees, you should really see bud break. It’s happiest and most productive when the daytime temperatures are all around 70 and nighttime temperatures access 50. The plant really should remain productive if the temperature stays beneath 90. This can be a dilemma for hotter locations.

If you experience blessed, check out planting it on the north or east facet of your assets in a sheltered place. Retain in mind that this plant can get fairly significant. Ours was above 6 toes throughout. Cooler temperatures outcome in redder stalks, so never be astonished if your rhubarb is not as really as the catalog photographs. If your climate is specifically warm, you could only be capable to increase it as an annual decorative.

If you are interested generally in rhubarb’s decorative traits, Swiss chard varieties this kind of as “Rhubarb” or “Bright Lights” are better suited for incredibly hot spots, and are related in look to rhubarb.

You can start off harvesting stalks when the plant is two several years aged. Very first 12 months plants will still be variety of puny, and they need to be presented a yr to get settled. (This is why I really don’t endorse escalating it in hot parts – you’ll by no means get to harvest decent-sized stalks.)

To harvest, snap the stalk in close proximity to the base of the plant, then clear away all of the leaf. I like to use a large chef’s knife to thwack off the leaf suitable into the compost bin. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which is really poisonous. Do not harvest stalks that have been frost harmed since the oxalic acid will migrate from the leaves into the stalks. The moment the plant has wilted from the heat, the stalks will grow to be floppy, icky, and unsuitable for harvest. Under no circumstances take away far more than a third of the plant, except you want to destroy it.

Rhubarb can be frozen safely for later on use. Blanching in boiling water will enable protect the colour and texture but is not fully required. It can also be canned or created into jam or jelly. Constantly use a tested recipe when canning. These can be discovered on any cooperative extension or college web-site. Businesses that make merchandise for canning, these types of as Ball or Kerr, are also fantastic resources for reliable, harmless recipes.

Have questions? Email gardening@scng.com.


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