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How to grow Rhubarb plant

Because the roots continue to crop for up to ten years after planting, special attention should be given to choosing a suitable site for rhubarb and preparing it well. The bed should not be shaded and should be dug deeply. Any roots of perennial weeds must be removed when digging. Where dung is available, this should be dug in at the rate of 50kg (1cwt) to 10 sq m (10 sq yd). Otherwise garden compost may be incorporated into the soil or spread over the bed after planting; a barrowload to the sq m (sq yd) is not excessive. Plant the roots lm (3ft) apart, using the spade. November, February or March are suitable planting times. Plant firmly and leave the pink buds at soil level. Supplies of rhubarb are appreciated early in the season. This is why `Timperley Early' is favoured. 'Hawke's Champagne' is better known but this variety crops later and the flower stems which the plants make in June or July should be cut away as soon as they are noticed. `Glaskin's Perpetual' may be raised from seed. Sow seed in the cold frame in March or April and thin the seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart. A year later, set the plants in the specially prepared bed.

Do not pull any sticks in the first season after planting and, in subsequent years, do not over-pull as this weakens the plants. Hand weeding should be carried out during the first summer but, in future seasons, no weeding is necessary because the large leaves inhibit weed growth. To ensure that the plants continue to crop well, mulch the bed each autumn with well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost.

 



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