Don't let the rhubarb bloom
In the days of his distant youth, rhubarb courageously mastered the foothills of the Himalayas and Tibet. With one caveat: the juicy descendants of this herb have grown all over the world, with the exception of desert Africa and the eternal ice of Antarctica.
For the first time I saw rhubarb in the market. The seller sold merrily touting thick pinkish-green petioles, chanting: “Ah yes rhubarb, take not regret it. Stewed fruit, jelly, boil jam, you will be healthy and live up to a hundred years!»
I bought it. And really did not regret it. Rhubarb was to my taste, and to all the household. And then I made myself a promise: as soon as I have a cottage, I will definitely plant it.
And now the long-awaited day has come. True, it took ten years to wait, but I did not forget about my promise. Almost the first to buy rhubarb seeds. I began to consult with experienced summer residents, how and where to plant it. But it turned out that no one knew anything about this, because in those places rhubarb was not particularly popular. At her own peril and risk she sowed the seeds, as she knew. Fortunately, I got a plot with good fertile land - pure chernozem. On this basis, I think, and the stones will sprout.
Crops did in the fall, in October. The weather was not warm and sunny in the autumn. The bed at first well and deeply loosened along with humus.
Purchased seeds were ready for sowing without prior preparation. Therefore, she made shallow grooves, densely sprinkled seeds in them and mulched them with a layer of about one centimeter. Now it remained to wait for spring.
In late April, the first shoots appeared. Many of them became the last. Germination of rhubarb was not too high. A whole bag of seeds gave only 12 sprouts.
In early May, the seedlings acquired real strong leaves. Seated them at a distance of 10 cm from each other and every two weeks until August fed organic fertilizers. Yes, of course, regularly harvested weeds and loosened the soil on the bed. And by the end of May I saw that different stems began to rise from the center of young rhubarb bushes. It turned out they were flowers. Wow, young and early, I thought. A floral hunch amused the soul. A hand did not raise them. And, as it turned out much later, in vain. I didn’t wait for juicy petioles in either of the following years - almost all of the growth energy was given to rhubarb by flowers. Leaves grew skinny and small. So, from personal experience, I learned that the appearing flower stems of rhubarb need to be cut off. And constantly. Otherwise, do not see the juicy petioles of longevity. I got my first crop only in the third year. Rhubarb did not allow to blossom. As soon as I see the arrow, immediately cut off. And so almost all summer. Yes, I almost forgot. In the second year of my first-born, I transplanted away from each other (about 60 cm). And they are not particularly demanding for care. They do not need much light, and even vice versa, they love shady places. The main thing is that there is plenty of moisture and there is no shortage of food. So I do not refuse them feeding. When there was no compost pit, it fed slurry, now I alternate compost and humus. Grow happily ever after.
© Joachim K. Löckener
A little over six years have passed since then. I corrected my mistake. I allow only one bush to bloom, so that there are seeds. I leave one flower stalk on the bush, then the seeds will be strong and healthy.
But now I multiply rhubarb, mainly by dividing the rhizome. It became possible when my first landings were four years old. To do this, in the fall I choose the most powerful and well-developed bush, dig it up and cut the rhizome into several parts with a knife. Delenki a little dry in the sun, and then planted in pre-prepared pits with a diameter of about 50 cm and at a distance of about a meter from each other. During planting, I generously water and fertilize well with compost and humus. When propagating by rhizome division, I already harvest a small crop for the next spring. And in full force, the plant begins to develop only in the second year.
I clean the leaves gradually throughout the summer and only strong ones. So that the plant does not become depleted, I always leave at least a third of the leaves on the bush. And so that rhubarb grows faster, be sure to cut off the flower stems.
Rhubarb, I infected all my neighbors in the country. On a rare site, now you will not meet his curly heads. And one of our favorite treats on our table is rhubarb jam.
By the way, recently I read that this plant really contributes to longevity and has a beneficial effect on the whole body. Chinese experts found in its composition substances that positively affect not only the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, but also significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The cheerful seller of rhubarb told the truth!