Recently I had to drive to Port Hawkesbury after work. On the way, the weather was a combination of wet snow and rain – Brrrr!!
We are all wishing for and wanting warmer spring days so we can do the spring chores in the garden and yard BUT this weather does not inspire! However, when I look out my window over to the cornor of the garden, my rhubarb bushing up from the ground gives me the hope that spring has really sprung. And, speaking of rhubarb…
Some interesting facts:
– The first record of rhubarb dates to 2700 BC in China
– Marco Polo brought it to Italy in the early 17th century
– Rhubarb made its way to North American sometime in the 1820’s
Most of us welcome those first stems of rhubarb and eat it hungrily in many ways; for instance, I just had stewed rhubarb today with my lunch (thanks to Marianne!!) but we also love it in muffins, pies, cobblers, puddings, and cordials. One of my favorite recipes was the rhubarb custard pie that my mom used to make – here is the recipe:
PLANTING AND GROWING RHUBARB
Rhubarb is very immune to disease and pests – it will live for years in the same location with little to no care and is good in Zones 2 to 9 (we are 5). To plant, prepare a location for your rhubarb plant. Make sure that the location has good drainage and a good depth of loose soil. You should make the hole at least 60 cm by 45 cm deep. Backfill with a mixture of equal parts removed soil, compost, and sand. Plant your plant in the prepared hole, cover with backfill mixture and water well to keep the rhubarb moist. I put some mulch around my rhubarb every year – when I clean out our woodshed and have all that semi-rotted bark and wood chips, I put this around the plants and they seem to love this yearly contribution. Giving your plant(s) a top dressing of compost or throwing a handful of fertilizer on them every spring would be good for their growth. Every few years, you can divide some of the crowns to increase your patch but I have not divided mine in over 30 years. If you plant more than one plant, leave 90 cm between your plants.
Here is a link to a site that has more than you will ever need (or want, perhaps!) regarding rhubarb – fun to look at, though: http://rhubarbinfo.com/maincontents
Back a few years ago, when I decided that I wanted to develop our farm property, I started reading lots of resource books. One that caught my eye and I ended up buying it was called No Till, No Dig Gardening by Richard Poincelot – “hmmm,” says I, “that would be great to not have to dig.” Well, this book changed the way that I do my gardening and now I pass this info on whenever I get a chance. Through this book, I learned how to not work so hard in soil tending and have come to believe that it is almost never necessary to till a garden. Poincelot also gives so many practical hints about growing and tending the garden that I found that this book has remained as one of my all-time favorites.
Here is a link to this book on Amazon – it is not an easy book to find in bookstores, but Amazon always seems to have copies… https://www.amazon.com/No-dig-no-weed-gardening-Raymond-Poincelot/dp/0878576118
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