Moving the rhubarb

In November 2011, I moved my rhubarb plant from a pot to ground near the apple tree at the back of the garden. The rationale had been that as the tree grew, there would be more shade for the rhubarb, which it loves. But the apple tree has not grown anywhere near as much as I expected, so the rhubarb was not in a great deal of shade in the spring and summer!

Rhubarb likes damp conditions, so in my south-facing garden, where it was, was not conducive to maintaining any kind of dampness. In other words, it was in the wrong place.

On the other hand, there was a spot close to the house by a tall fence which gets little direct sunlight. It’s not sheltered enough for really damp conditions but any water is going to evaporate more slowly from there. So, maybe not optimum conditions but much better than near the apple tree.

The hole I dug today was much deeper than the one I dug three years ago. Then I have to admit to a spot of laziness…. With the topsoil being so shallow you soon hit hard clay subsoil and then the going does get tough. Perhaps because of the wet weather recently, though, the subsoil today was easier to manage. Or perhaps I was simply more determined. Either way, the hole second time round was much deeper.


Then when it was time to dig up the rhubarb, I had a much easier time. The soil was mostly compost and the roots were compact, so after easing away the surrounding soil I was able to simply lift the rhubarb out. Then place in the hole prepared with lots of lovely manure. A farmer’s wife once described rhubarb to me as greedy, so I made sure the rest of hole was filled in with more muck and now it is happily in its new home I hope.

The photo below shows the rhubarb in the new hole before it was filled in. The root’s diameter is about eight inches.


Can’t wait to see how the rhubarb fares this year!


About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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15 Responses to Moving the rhubarb

  1. andy1076 says:

    I do like Rhubarb ๐Ÿ™‚ Quite the relocating ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I have never grown rhubarb .. But i would really like too and I think I have just the spot ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Helen says:

      Go for it, Julie. It is an incredibly easy crop to grow, especially in the right spot. It needs little maintainance apart from feeding. My dad gets the most amazing size stalks from his rhubarb, and his soil was rubbish when he acquired his house (five years ago). So, the moral of the story is manure, manure, manure.

  3. Hurrah for a successful transplant. To garden is to learn. I’m constantly learning new things.

    Your title for some reason made me giggle. It sounds like a self-help book title: Moving the Rhubarb: Ten Things Everyone Should Know.


  4. afarmingartist says:

    I am also adding Rhubarb this year. What do you do with it? My big plant move will be the horseradish. I made a huge mistake putting it in the annual garden. Live and learn.

    • Helen says:

      Live and learn indeed!

      I mostly stew the rhubarb for dessert but last year I also made a rhubarb and ginger jam. Someone I know uses it in curry and a local farm puts it in their sausages.

      I’ve never acquired a taste for horseradish but perhaps that is something I could add to my forest garden list?

      • afarmingartist says:

        Every year my I ask my family for personal requests and one year my husband said horseradish. He makes a mean sauce. General rule: a little goes a looooong way. I freeze the leftovers to use or give away later.

  5. mybrightlife says:

    We had rhubarb growing wild in Iceland when I lived there but I do not recall ever seeing it grow in South Africa! Wish it did.. perhaps it is too dry here but there must be places in the mountains where it grows…I will have to investigate.

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