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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Rhubarb
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Tom A    Posted 01-02-2003 at 08:40:57       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I can't seem to grow it so save my life! I have a pretty green thumb otherwise, but I've been trying rhubarb for several years and managed to kill it each and every time.

I'm gonna give it one more shot this spring. I've just ordered 5 crowns of "Macdonald" rhubarb. I plan to mix in lots of barnyard dirt when I plant; was thinking of planting 3 plants in one spot and 2 in another just to increase my chances of gettting something to survive.

Any advice for me?

thanks,
Tom


glenn hick    Posted 04-24-2004 at 17:27:46       [Reply]  [Send Email]
my ruhbarb started to grow quite well but it looks as though seeds are starting to form. when is it ready to pick? the stalks are only about eight inches tall.
glenn


Les...Well, Tom    Posted 01-02-2003 at 13:59:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
After reading this whole thread, I find I am the only one who seems to have the same problem as you. I have never had any luck growing it and I love the stuff. 'Bout the best I ever could get was some puny stalks no bigger'n your little finger.
I finally gave up. When it comes into season, everybody is more than willing to have me come pick all I want and then some so that's what I do.


Cur Mudgeon    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:59:13       [Reply]  [No Email]
Not sure where you are Tom but Rhubarb is not very heat or drought tolerant. On the other hand it will drown if drainage is not good. I've seen some up in clay hills around here that was growing in what appeard to be straw mounds. It was actually dirt and compost mounds with straw mulch.


Hmmm...    Posted 01-02-2003 at 09:30:19       [Reply]  [Send Email]
How the heck do you kill rhubarb?

Not trying to be difficult, but if I can't kill it, it has to be darn hard to do...

How much sunlight vs. shade are you giving it?
Is the ground swampy or sandy?

You are welcome to come dig some if you like...I have some that needs moving...

Salmoneye


Tom A -- more info    Posted 01-02-2003 at 09:42:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
Difficult? You?? I don't believe it.

Well so far, I've tried it to one side of my asparagus bed (which is thriving, by the way). Soil isn't the best, but not too bad either--it is medium clay that I've amended with compost. During the summer, the place gets sun from about 9 a.m. til about 4 p.m...is shaded by a large hackberry tree the rest of the time. I bucket water in dry weather, but not a lot (same as the asparagus).

The plants sort of look like they rot away...first begin to wilt then just sort of dissolve. I've tried varying water, but nothing has worked so far. I've bought the plants from 2 different suppliers over 2 different years.

My main garden is sandy loam, and that is where I plan to try it this year even though a perenial will be sort of in the way.


Tom


Strange...    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:02:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
My Great Uncle raised two varieties...One he called 'True' Rhubarb...Has green stalks and is sour as all heck...Then he raised one that he called 'Wine/Pie Plant'...Huge, deep red stalks and not as sour...I still have both growing here in varying degrees of sunlight, from a little more than yours, to almost none except for filtered through tree canopy...Some is high and dry and some is swampy enough for Timber Doodle breeding grounds...The plants with the most light produce the most stalks for me...They are also the dryest ones...dunno what that means ;-)

My Mom, Sister, and Aunt, all have large patches that were just big clumps that came from here...

Should grow fine wherever asparagus will establish...
Good luck and please let us know what happens with your new stuff...I am interested!


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 09:37:14       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Salmoneye, I have heard a story of someone digging up the roots, chopping them all up and throwing them all over the garden, then rototilling them in, Give that a try:<)
Later Bob


Salmoneye    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:07:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
When I was a kid...

I accidently hit a single crown that Mom had in the corner of one vegetable bed with the TroyBilt...Spread that one crown to a 5' x 5' sqaure full of the stuff...2nd year she had so much she was selling it right out of the garden...


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:06:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Salmoneye, have you ever dug it up in the fall let it freeze, then put it in by the furnace in the cellar and forced it in winter? That will get rid of some of the extar roots and give you all you can handle in winter too.
Later Bob


Nope...    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:44:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Mom just freezes it in summer so we have enough pies and sauce all winter...

I get sick of it long about August and let it all go to seed...But a 'fresh' pie midwinter sure is a good reminder of what is coming in the spring...

Now...If I could get a 'real' tomato sandwich right now...NOT one that tastes like cardboard...THAT would be something...

;-)


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 12:46:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Now that's a project, forcing tomatos eh.
Later Bob


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 08:52:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Plant one in each hole Tom and don't over do it with the manuer. Dig a hole about a foot deep and in dia too, loosen up the dirt, manuer in the bottom, cover with some dirt and plant. Have you been replanting old stalks you got from someone? When they get old, the roots( like fingers) grow together and that's called Root Bound. When a plant gets root bound the stalks get smaller and smaller. When this happens you need to dig a piece up, tear the root apart and replant it in several new holes, leave for a year and you should have lots.
Later Bob


WallSal55    Posted 01-02-2003 at 09:12:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
My folks always used to just transplant 3-4 plants
from an older established plot. They still have
plants from our original rhubarb when I was at
least five, if not before!


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 09:24:03       [Reply]  [Send Email]
They likely broke the root up real good each time, that's what makes it work. I have a plant here from one Greatgrandfather had over 60 yrs ago. When I first took from it I left half of the root incase I messed up the transplanting. Tore the old bound root up into 12 pieces. Put one in each of the 12 holes I dug, filled full of long grass, packed down and filled with dirt. The next spring I had 10 plants that where 3 foot across and putting out big stalks. One of them is what I have here now.
Later Bob


I'm really feelin' bad now    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:19:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Reading thru this thread, I feel really incompetent. All ya gotta do is tear it up and throw it on the ground and it grows...and I'm killing it left and right.

I don't even know if I like the stuff, was just gonna give it a try to see, but now I *have* to grow it just to prove I'm not a loser!

thanks for all the advice. maybe I'll get it right this year and next spring I'll be askin' for recipes.

Tom A


bob    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:50:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Tom where do you live? you have to let ruhbarb freeze in winter or it won,t produce. Have a consin in New Orleans and she is going to take some home and put in freezer over winter and plant in spring don,t know if can fool it or not. this might be your problem bob


Tom A    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:58:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
Bob:

I live in the boonies of western Maryland. Summers are fairly hot and usually very humid, but the winters get pretty cold, too. Ground freezes a few inches deep most winters, at least for a few weeks. But you might have a point about the location--I don't know anybody who grows rhubarb here. Lots of country folk growing almost everything else, but no rhubarb that I know of.

Tom


bob    Posted 01-02-2003 at 14:55:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Tom it just dawned on me we had ours first planted in clay near a tree and didn,t produce well. have moved it twice and it just gets better. move and split them all you need is one crown


Salmoneye    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:50:37       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It may not be you at all...

You said that you water it once in a while?
You on city water, have lots of calcium, or iron in it?...Chlorine maybe?

Asparagus will thrive where alot of other things will die actually...I pick a couple hundred pounds of free asparagus here a year...all along the sides of the road...They like the road salt and will take over where other stuff dies...

Just a thought...


WallSal55 - Salmoneye-- questions about wild asparagus...    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:15:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Anything one can do to increase it spreading?
We have approximately 5 plants on our 3 acres.
We let the fronds grow, no mowing and hope enough
seed is cast to the ground in the wind to start
new plants. Is that the way they spread, or is it
by root only?


Larry    Posted 01-02-2003 at 15:17:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]

I've had some luck growing asparagus for my wife. When growing it from seed you need to either soak the seed in some kind of acid(can't remember which kind),or score the seed with a small three cornerd file. You need to do this because asparagus seed is so darn hard that it has a hard time germinating by itself. Then put the seed in some potting soil like you would tomato seed. I left mine grow in the house for two years before I planted it in the garden.

A better way to get a plot started is to buy asparagus sets from a seed company. This works faster because the plants are about two to three years old when you get them. Just follow the planting directions they send with them and you shouldn't have any trouble.

Once asparagus gets a good start it's almost impossible to kill it off. We have a lot of it growing in fence rows around here. I have one small patch of it in my corn field where a fence row used to be. I've plowed it evey year and sprayed it with about evey type of herbicide known.Even Round Up a couple of times,but it still comes up every year.

I've also heard of people trying to dig up old fence row plants to transplant in their gardens. The only way I know that works is to dig it up with a back hoe. Those roots are really down deep.


Salmoneye    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:40:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I had a 6" x 2' flat of seedlings given to me last summer that a friend started from seed...So I know it can be done...just takes longer for the first harvest as opposed to buying and planting crowns...

I must have had a good 200 seedlings that I planted with a drilling stick all over the place (including roadsides)...We'll see in a year or two how much survived...

As for 'spreading' it...I think birds do most of it around here by 'dropping' the seeds...

My Gram had a patch that was doing poorly after a good 12-13 year run of producing well...They say that all Asparagus has a lifespan under 20 years...Dunno...But one year I went over that patch that had not produced enough for a meal in 2 years...I took that old TroyBilt and set it as low as possible one fall...Tilled in a pickup load of manure and I spread a couple pounds of Morton table salt...That patch came back the next spring like it had never slowed down...I have no idea if it cut the crowns at their very tops or what, but it sure did work...My Sister lives there and takes the tiller thru it in the fall every other year or so...Well over 30 years on those plants...I know, cuz I planted em when I was 8-9 LOL...

Never say the word 'bored' around your Gram...shovels, hoes, and stone boats, magically appear...

Dang...I miss her...


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 12:51:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
You figuer that it gets root bound like rhubarb too Salmoneye?
Later Bob


Not sure...    Posted 01-02-2003 at 13:06:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't know if it gets rootbound, or if it could possibly be that the crowns are so dang deep, and the soil gets so dang packed, that they just don't want to push up anymore?...Maybe they can't 'breath'...

Really wish I knew...Have never been able to find anyone that has tilled as a method of 'revitalization' of asparagus, though I have heard from some people that they have used salt before...I have asked a number of people about it and have never gotten a real answer...Most 'have never heard of such a thing'...

I just thought that the patch was a lost cause, so it sure couldn't hurt to try anything at that point...

I have some wild here literally in my lawn...I let it seed and then mow it the rest of the season...one crown and I get a steady supply (maybe 15-20 shoots) every few days till I let it go...I have never done anything to it...It has been here since before I bought the place in 1983...


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 13:12:42       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We had some at home but not here Salmoneye. We have asparagus ferns and I dug them up and they had roots like peanuts. Are they the same plant and would they grow into the regular stuff if they where put into the garden?
Later Bob


Salmoneye    Posted 01-02-2003 at 13:26:09       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Nope...Not the same 'animal' at all...

I had an asparagus fern for more than a decade...here they are houseplants...Pretty sure they are not edible at all...


Salmoneye    Posted 01-02-2003 at 13:26:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Nope...Not the same 'animal' at all...

I had an asparagus fern for more than a decade...here they are houseplants...Pretty sure they are not edible at all...


Bob /Ont.    Posted 01-02-2003 at 11:14:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Your right about city water, when dad first got hooked up to city water it turned the leaves red when he first watered it.
Later Bob


Scott Hansen    Posted 01-02-2003 at 10:21:16       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Maybe you're just not throwing it hard enough. Git out there and pummel it! :)


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