Rheum rhubarbarum ‘Valentine’ – Vigorous plants top in yields sweet, low-acid stalks that are perfect for zesty sauces and pies without needing as much sugar. Cold-hardy and heat-tolerant. It can be served as a sauce over ice cream, combined with fresh strawberries, or made into pies, tarts, puddings, breads, muffins, cakes, jam, jellies, and refreshing beverages. Rhubarb provides vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium and fiber. It is also reported to lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots which can lead to stroke and heart attacks.
Do not soak these roots, plant directly into garden. Does best in an open position and can be grown in most types of soil. It will tolerate semi-shade. Soggy wet locations should be avoided. Plant 90 cm (35 in) apart in soil that has been deeply mixed with peat moss or leaf mold. Bury the root, leaving any new shoots just protruding from the soil. Firm the soil and deeply water. Harvesting should commence the second year. Pick only a few stems until the plants are well established. Cut off any flowering spikes at once.
Rhubarb is easy to grow but with a bit of extra care and attention you can increase your yield and produce a better quality stem.
At the end of the growing season give your plants a good feed in the form of a top dressing of well rotted garden compost making sure you don’t pile it up around the stems. Keep the area around the plant free of weeds and give an occasional good soaking in prolonged dry periods.
Flower heads may appear in early Spring and these should be removed quickly to stop the plant producing seed. If the happens your rhubarb will be significantly weakened and will be unlikely to recover to full strength.
Crown rot is the only issue likely to be a problem but can be avoided by planting in well drained soil and being careful not to bury the growing tips under compost.