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What to plant in October: Rhubarb Sets

by Jean - Horticulturist CountryLife Ashford | Oct 02, 2015
How to grow rhubarb - plant, care and harvest
For a first time vegetable grower, there isn’t an easier vegetable than rhubarb to start with. It will grow without too much attention from you which is suitable for people with busy lifestyles.

Soil Preparation:
  • Rhubarb grows best in fertile, well drained and partially shaded areas
  • All varieties develop a deep root system
  • Dig up your soil four weeks before planting, removing as many stones as possible and adding as much organic matter as possible
How to plant:
  • Rhubarb will take one year to produce stalks. Choose the variety you want for your patch, prepare the soil and then plant the seeds in late autumn to early winter
  • The depth should be such that the top of the plant is at, or just below the soil surface
  • Make sure the surrounding soil is firm and water well
  • Spacing between plants should be about 75cm (30in) for smaller varieties and up to 120cm (48in) for larger varieties
  • Once the leaves have died down, spread a new layer of compost around the plant to save water and suppress weeds. Dead-head flowers immediately after they appear in the early spring
Harvesting and storage:
  • Let the rhubarb to establish for one year before taking your first harvest. Select three of the largest stalks, waiting for the leaves to fully open before pulling from May to August
  • The stalks can be harvested by gently twisting the stems and pulling from the base of the plant. Leaves shouldn't be eaten as they contain oxalic acid and are poisonous
Written by Jean

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Jean's Bio
Hi my name is Jean, I am a horticulturist with CountryLife in the Ashford branch. I grew up on a farm where we always had a veg garden, so you could say that horticulture and agriculture is in the blood! I studied Landscape Horticulture in UCD and worked part-time in Fernhill Garden Centre, Athlone while I was in college. After graduating I worked in Landscape Architecture for three years before returning to the Garden Centre trade. I began in Keane’s Garden Centre, Kilcolgan, Co Galway and returned to Fernhill Garden Centre for three years before joining CountryLife.  Being a horticulturalist is a great job, you are surrounded by nature every day and there is always something to be done. Meeting customers and giving the advice is very rewarding especially when they report back positive results. I love growing my own fruit and veg and I’m always trying new varieties and ways of growing. The seasons are always changing and while the weather is challenging in Ireland, I believe we grow the best produce in the world.

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