Just over two weeks ago, rhubarb came to my garden. The transplants were from the neighbor’s patch. This morning they are firmly established. Even the one that looked as though it would shrivel and die now has two healthy leaves and a reddish stalk. The mother patch is also doing well with one of the plants pushing up its seed stalk.
Plants are amazing things. They take most of their energy from the sun and use photosynthesis to thrive. They have evolved to survive and we have used selection to produce what we want from them. With rhubarb, however, we have not been able to eliminate the poisonous oxalic acid in their leaves.
In the country, every farm garden had its rhubarb patch. A sure sign of spring was when my grandmother made strawberry rhubarb pie. One of the best cooks at our church freezes bags of rhubarb for the rhubarb cobbler that graces every church supper.
It is rhubarb’s nature as a perennial that is a challenge for many gardeners. Do you dedicate part of a suburban garden to rhubarb when you may move in a year of two? If you have only a balcony, there’s no room for rhubarb. Rhubarb is about choices. Beans or tomatoes will be gone in the fall. Rhubarb gives you the hope of Spring.