Growing rhubarb on your own plot is a task that any gardener can grow. Buckwheat perennial is a source of natural nutrients in early spring. Some varieties of rhubarb ripen quite early, when other vegetables are not yet available.
Characteristics of rhubarb
Highly productive vegetable, rhubarb, is a perennial plant of buckwheat family. It was introduced to Europe from East Asia. It tolerates cold and gives high yields. The plant has fleshy roots and an upright stalk, whose height can reach up to 3 m. Large leaves of rhubarb sit on thick long petioles, which are used in food. For a good and high-quality crop when growing rhubarb, moist soil is needed, but there is no need for constant light.
Rhubarb is similar in nutrition to apples. Minerals and vitamins contained in plants, pectin and organic acids are useful for humans. This vegetable has diuretic and laxative properties and is used to prevent vomiting, cleaning the liver and excreting bile. In May, when there are no vegetables and fruits yet, rhubarb can already be used in salads, for cooking compotes, jelly, kvass and wine.
There are several varieties of rhubarb differing in the quality of the petioles( red and green) and ripening time:
- Moscow 42;
- Tukums 5;
- Orgish 13;
In order to use the vegetable for longer, it is necessary to plant at least two varieties with different ripening periods in the garden.
You can propagate rhubarb in two ways:
- seedlings grown from
- seeds by dividing the roots
- The rhubarb is a perennial plant, moreover, it does not require a transplant and does not tolerate it well, grows in the same place for 10-15 years, giving a good harvest.
- Delivers planting in the shade, but in sunny or slightly shaded areas it grows more lush, beautiful, and the stems have better taste.
- The plant is moisture-loving, but does not tolerate overwetting. Therefore, it should not be planted in low places where water can stagnate or near water bodies.
- Prefers fertile and loose soils with a neutral pH.On sandy or clayey heavy soils, as well as acidic or alkaline rhubarb will grow poorly.
Planting and caring for rhubarb is not particularly difficult. First, the breeding method is selected.
Vegetative reproduction method
Adult 3-4 year old healthy plants are used for vegetative reproduction. Old breeding bushes are not recommended. Having carefully dug a bush, they cut the root into several parts with a sharp knife, each of which should have at least 1-2 growth buds. The resulting damage to the rhizome is better to sprinkle with wood ash or activated carbon powder. You can not dig up the bushes and divide them directly in the ground with a shovel. The separated parts of the plant are planted in spacious holes, covered with earth and firmly pressed, the growth bud should remain on the surface. It is advisable to pour a little bit of humus or compost into the prepared wells before planting.
Splitting of the bush is carried out in the spring early when the soil warms slightly, or in mid-autumn, so that the plant can take root before the onset of cold weather.
Seed propagation is used to grow a new variety or plant for the first time.
From seeds, rhubarb is grown through seedlings, which are obtained from seeds previously soaked before swelling. Germinate seeds under wet gauze or a rag, moistening it periodically. After the emergence of sprouts about 2 cm in length, the seeds are dried and then sown. Planted seeds in a pre-moistened soil. On the fourth or fifth day after sowing, the first sprouts of rhubarb can be seen. The depth of instillation should not exceed 3 cm. When growing rhubarb, consumption is up to 4 grams of seeds per square meter. Rhubarb is planted in rows at a distance of 25 cm. After the leaves appear on the shoots, they are thinned. The distance between shoots should be about 20 cm.
In the future, care of seedlings is watering, if necessary, weeding, loosening, fertilizing fertilizers. In the fall receive seedlings up to 30 cm in height with three to four leaves.
After winter, seedlings are dug out for planting in the wells at a distance of up to 1 m. The soil should fit snugly to the roots of planting material. In this case, the upper kidney is recommended to lower under the ground no more than two centimeters. If the soil is not wet, then planting material is watered. Subsequently, the rhubarb is watered( if necessary) and the arrows are removed. The soil is loosened and weeded. Fertilizing is desirable for obtaining a good harvest. Fertilize the soil every 3-4 years, introducing 1-2 buckets of organic matter per square meter.
Rhubarb can be damaged by pests( elephant, flea, bug) and diseases( ascohytosis, gray mold).
Pesticides against diseases and pests can be used only after collecting cuttings for food.
In order not to weaken the plant and get a stable crop for a long time, it is advisable to harvest the crop( petioles) from the second year after planting. Harvesting is done several times during the season. The cuttings are broken out at the base, when their thickness reaches more than 1.5 cm, and the length is 30 cm. In the first three years, the harvest is 1-2 kg of petioles, and in the following years - up to 6 kg from one bush.