Planting guide and Care of Rhubarb

Rhubarb should be planted in slightly raised beds when soil is heavy.  Rhubarb will need an open site, as they will not tolerate shade.  The planting hole should be about spade depth, as the roots will go deep and work the soil well.  Adding some garden compost as well to amend the soil would be good.  You can now add fertiliser at this time as well. If using manure, make sure it has rotted enough.  Remember that all varieties of rhubarb grow best in partial sunlight, well-draining soil.  Prepare the planting hole about 4 weeks ahead of planting, taking out all weeds, stones, etc.

Planting guide
The planting hole should be a bit wider than the plant.  The depth should be such that the top of the plant is at or just below the soil surface.  Put the plant in and gently firm the surrounding soil and water well.  Space your plants about 30 inches (75cm) apart for small plants and up to 48 inches (120cm) for larger plants. 
When the leaves have died down, spread a new layer of compost around the plant to conserve water, and help supress the weeds.  Dead head flowers immediately when they appear, allowing flowers to  set seed will weaken the plant.  The rhubarb should be divided every 5-6 years during winter when the plant is dormant.  This will keep the plant healthy. Rhubarb suffers from a few diseases.  The main threat when the soil conditions are wet is crown rot.  The fungal infection occurs at the base of the of the stalks and the plant will turn brown and soften.  Plants with root rot must be dig up immediately and destroyed. Avoiding root rot means that your plant should be in well-draining, fertile and weed free ground.

This process provides and earlier harvest, sweeter stalks that do not need peeling.  If forcing outdoors, cover plant with container or large pot to exclude light.  Make sure you place the cover over the rhubarb as soon as it shows signs of growth. 
In order to break the dormancy period, whole crowns in November and place on top of the soil surface to be chilled for two weeks.  Pot each plant with compost and take into a greenhouse.  It is important to exclude any light by placing pots over them or black matting to cover the crowns.  The plant will be forced to ripen and be ready to eat in about four weeks due to lack of light, heating, and being covered.

The first harvest can happen after the rhubarb has been allowed to establish for at least a year. Select three of the largest stalks, waiting for leaves to fully open before pulling from about may to August Gently twist the stems and pull from the base of the plant.  Do not eat the leaves as they contain oxalic acid and are poisonous.