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How to Grow Rhubarb

I have always grown rhubarb in my garden. Sometimes we eat itand sometimes we don't, but I think I just enjoy admiring its biggreen leaves and pretty red stalks.

Rhubarb will grow almost anywhere. We have moved our rhubarbplant five times in the past twenty years (yes, twenty!). Itjust keeps coming back year after year. This plant is veryresistant to winter weather and drought. It grows better innorthern states than southern states because it doesn't care for hot humid summer weather.

Here are some basic tips for growing rhubarb:

Rhubarb season runs from April to September. You can buy starterplants (root clumps) at most garden nurseries. The best time toplant them is early spring, but I have also transplanted them infall, and they came back in the spring.

Rhubarb prefers fertile, well drained soil. It thrives best infull sun but will also tolerate part shade (it just won't grow aslarge).

Plant your rhubarb roots in a hole two feet deep and two feetwide and leave at least three feet between plants. When youplace the plant in the hole, the crown bud should be two inchesbelow the ground surface. Add some composted manure or peat mossto the hole before filling it in.

The plant won't be big enough to harvest the first year, butstarting in the second year you can cut a few stalks as soon asthey grow to about the size of your finger. Cut the stalk to theground level. Only the stalks are edible--the leaves arepoisonous and should not be consumed. Flowering stalks can becut and discarded whenever they appear.

Fertilize your rhubarb plant with composted manure or leaves inthe fall or early winter.

Rhubarb is easy to freeze. Choosing firm red stalks, wash incold water and cut into 1-inch lengths. Place in freezer bags orfreezer containers. Leave 1/2 inch space for expansion infreezer containers.

Here are some great rhubarb recipes for your family to try:

Rhubarb Crunch

6 c. raw rhubarb, chopped
1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. shortening
3 T. flour
1 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix rhubarb, 3 T. flour, and whitesugar and place in bottom of greased 9x13 pan. Mix remainingflour, oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, and shortening untilcrumbly. Sprinkle on top of rhubarb mixture. Bake 20 min. oruntil rhubarb is tender.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

4 c. rhubarb, diced
3 c. miniature marshmallows
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 box white cake mix
1 (3 oz.) package strawberry Jello

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ingredients in a greased13x9x2-inch baking dish in the following order: rhubarb, sugar,dry jello, marshmallows. Top with dry cake mix and a littlebutter. Bake for 45 minutes.

Rhubarb Jam

4 c. cut rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
4 c. sugar
1 pkg. raspberry gelatin

Heat rhubarb slowly in covered pan until rhubarb is tender,adding a little water if necessary. Add sugar and cook untilsugar is dissolved. Stir to keep from sticking. Add gelatin andstir until dissolved. Pour into jelly jars and refrigerate.

Submitted by:

Rachel Paxton

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author ofWhat's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quickeasy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, homedecorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit CreativeHomemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.


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