Posted: 27/10/2016 at 12:05
I grew rhubarb very successfully in the garden we have just left behind in Belgium and which hit temps as low as -32C one freak winter's night. It will do well in partial shade or full sun if there's plenty of rain and it likes a rich, organic soil full of well-rotted manure and garden compost at planting time. To protect the crown through winter, pile on a generous dollop of garden compost which the worms will work into the soil over winter.
Choose a variety you fancy, Timperley is good and so is Champagne for flavour. Water during dry spells and don't pick any stems in its first year so the leaves feed the roots to make a strong plant. In subsequent years, Harvest up to half the stems up until mid to late July which is when levels of oxalic acid rise and can affect taste as well as causing gout or arthritis in susceptible people. It also needs its foliage form then on to store energy for next year's crop.
I find it useful to have two crowns so that one can be forced under an upturned pot or dustbin for early, tender crops. Once these pink stems have been picked it needs to be left to recover for a whole season so you then harvest stems off the other plant and alternate them each year. Remove any flower stalks as soon as they appear as they sap energy.
Mine did so well with this regime I had to divide them every 3 years and ended up with a huge bed of 9 fat crowns and gave away lots of spares to good homes.