Raising Rhubarb First Year
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.
- Jiffy corn meal (grocery store or on hand)
- Shears to cut off rhubarb bolt (home improvement or on hand)