Rhubarb Season

There are some small rhubarb plants sending up their shoots in the backyard raised beds. I believe these were planted by the previous owner of the house, so they’re well over 20 years old by now.

They haven’t been growing very big in the last few years (or ever in my memory, to be honest). I really love rhubarb at this time of year – what other “fruit” is in season in April? So, I’d really like to see if I can bring these plants back into production.

Are they just too old? Time to get new rhubarb?

According to Monty Don, you can refresh or rejuvenate rhubarb by digging them up in the fall, dividing them, and replanting the roots. The only catch is that you can’t harvest rhubarb the following spring; you have to give it a year to build up strength (kind of like asparagus).

But I’m not sure that’s the problem with our rhubarb. It doesn’t send up long, limp spindly stalks; it just stays very small.

Could it be that it doesn’t like the soil or the amount of sunlight? Rhubarb is actually somewhat shade tolerant, so I think it should be okay where it is sun-wise.

I just don’t know…. I think I’ll transplant some in the fall to a different location and some I’ll keep in place and try to amend the soil around the plant with compost. In the meantime, I have recipes for a rhubarb tart and rhubarb cobbler that I’d like to tenu this spring…I’ll likely have to buy rhubarb stalks to make that happen.

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