Raising Rhubarb First Year

2 Materials
15 Minutes

This was our first year raising rhubarb. From relatives and friends in the past, I knew it does not do well with too much sun, so we planted it late last summer between the water barrel and our day lilies. We also have chives in that corner.
We were so excited to see it coming up on May Day. Spring is late here on the high plains of Wyoming. It had survived our harsh winter!
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Then two weeks ago we found an ant nest getting started under the bricks we use for the planter to hold the soil. There were ants and ant holes everywhere. They often invade our yard somewhere every spring.
This is our solution to every ant problem. They take it to the nest and it kills the invading colony. The problem seemed solved. The ants were gone.
Then today, I found during the few days of rain our rhubarb had bolted. I asked Hometalk fellow workers if they could help. This is what I learned from several sources.
Rhubarb bolts if it is a certain variety, if it is an older plant, if it has been stressed from lack of water, and if it has been stressed from predators or invading insects. I ruled out the first 3 reasons and accepted the fourth, invading insects earlier this month.
Sometimes ants are helpful and not all ants need to be destroyed by any means. They open flowers when they search for nectar. These are apple buds on our apple tree today. They had a few ants. I know peonies cannot open except they have ants to open them. One year we imported ants for our peonies!
To get back to the rhubarb, it is still usable. I can trim off the flower and still use the rhubarb fruit as it is called. Remember, the leaves are poisonous, never consume them. We cut them off and use them for mulch. I hope this helps you if you decide to establish some rhubarb in your garden. It is great in cakes, pies, and eaten as a side dish.

Suggested materials:

  • Jiffy corn meal  (grocery store or on hand)
  • Shears to cut off rhubarb bolt  (home improvement or on hand)

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3 of 7 comments
  • DesertRose
    on May 16, 2018

    Thank you Wendy, and thank you for viewing

  • Patti
    on May 19, 2018

    You inspired me. I will try rhubarb this year. And I like the cornmeal idea. I have the little red fire ants they are terrible. When I'm working with my plants or pulling weeds they get in my gloves. I usually don't see them till they start biting. I hope the cornmeal will work. They hurt when the bite. I itch for days. Thanks for this great idea.

    • DesertRose
      on May 22, 2018

      I am so glad we could help. We love sharing what we learned over the years. Grateful friends like you make our day!

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