Lifestyles
Growing rhubarb in southern Grayson County: part 2
By Krystl Philyaw
Oct 17, 2020
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Grayson County, Texas -- Welcome back to growing Rhubarb in southern Grayson County.  According to the Texas A&M article mentioned in part one of this series, the seedlings are ready to go into the garden when they are about four inches tall or have three to five leaves.  My plants were ready to go by September 28, but I had not prepared the bed where the plants will spend the next six months until harvesting in the spring.  Let us talk about bed preparation.

I planted my Rhubarb into an established 4x8 raised bed.  Only minor preparation was needed to get the soil ready.  First, I turned the existing soil with a garden fork; you may have heard this tool referred to as a digging or spading fork.  I added 1-2 compost, dried molasses, and horticultural cornmeal to the top of the bed and mixed it into the loosened soil with the garden fork.  I use bagged compost, mainly because I can not produce enough on my own to accommodate all of my garden needs.  The dried molasses and horticultural cornmeal were added to aid in soil structure and attract soil microbes.  This combination works for me.

The best thing to do is to have a soil test completed, especially if you plan to plant into a new area.  If you send off your soil sample when you first sow your seeds indoors, you should have the results in time to prep your space before the seedlings are ready to get planted.  After prepping your area, water well and give it 1-2 weeks to settle before planting your seedlings.  By the time I was prepared to plant, it had not rained in nearly a month.  I gave the bed a good soaking the day before the seedlings went into the garden.  On planting day, October 4, I gave the seedlings a soaking bath.  Plain water, they had received a Garret Juice soaking the week prior.  You do not want to put dry plants into a dry bed.  Perennial Rhubarb plants can grow quite large.  Not knowing how large these will get, I spaced my eight plants about 18 apart.

In the photo below, you will notice I added drip irrigation lines.  It is easier to put in now than to try to maneuver around larger plants.  It would be nice to get a good soaking rain. October is supposed to be the third wettest month of the year.  Until that happens, the babies get hand-watered every day to assist them in getting established.

So far, so good.  Check back in November to see how my experiment is progressing.