Rhubarb is such a tolerant and generous plant we often neglect it. When allowed to reach it’s true potential with a little bit of love, it is a truly splendid thing. Winter is a good time to dig up and divide at least a third of your rhubarb to expand and reinvigorate the plants. If you don’t want to expand your own stock you can pot pieces up ready to give away or stock school gala stalls later in the year.
I left a prolific patch of rhubarb in Ohariu Valley and was pleased to find a few plants in my new garden in Hawke’s Bay but they haven’t done well over summer. They have competition for water and nutrients from trees. They probably haven’t been moved for a while so I dug up about half the plants, divided them up into pieces and moved them to a double-dug trench (thanks to the help of my handsome and strong assistant). The bottom of the trench had a few buckets of vermicast and a wheelbarrow of compost in it for good measure. And I used Koanga Institute’s recommended ‘recipe’ for soil amendments of Environmental Fertiliser’s ‘Natures Garden’, Nano-Cal, Activated Carbon and BAS 50.
They’ll get a good mulching and will need plenty of water in summer. I will rely on the remaining plants for this year’s crop but in 18 months time I hope to have a thriving new rhubarb patch.