Rhubarb - Victoria - Heirloom

Rhubarb - Victoria - Heirloom

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Rheum rhabarbarum

The creator of the famous heirloom Victoria Rhubarb was Joseph Myatt of Manor Farm in Deptford, England, a plant breeder. Myatt’s ‘Victoria’ Rhubarb was introduced in 1837 in honor of Queen Victoria.

Rhubarb is a cool climate perennial, with the best bright red large stalks occurring from temps of approx. 10c.  It requires a cold winter to produce, and can be difficult to grow in tropical regions with very hot summers or high humidity.

Only the rhubarb stalks can be eaten and they must be cooked. Rhubarb is rich in iron, and vitamins A and C. It is often baked into pies and other desserts. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous as they contain oxalic acid, and should never be eaten or fed to animals.  The acid also is found in the edible stems, but it breaks down in the cooking process. The concentration in the leaves is high enough that they’re unsafe to eat, even when cooked.

Rhubarb seeds are encased in a large paper-like shell. To speed up the germination process, soak seeds in water for 1-2 hours before planting.

Sow seed in spring and summer, approx. 2.5 cm deep.  Deep, well-drained soil, enriched with well-rotted animal manure or compost.  Water well in dry weather. Apply a mulch of well-rotted manure in autumn and spring. Plants can be divided after 4-5 years.  

Cut out any flower stems that develop and pick stems very lightly in the first year. Harvest rhubarb either by cutting or pulling off the leaf stalks at soil level. When the plants have 10 stalks you can harvest 3 or 4 stems at a time per plant. The stalks and leaves die back with first frost, but the plants will come right back in early spring.

20 seeds per packet