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A Bit of Rhubarb History and Care

For many, rhubarb generates thoughts of spring, strawberry-rhubarb pie and family gatherings.

The English first tried eating rhubarb in the 17th century. Unfortunately, they started with the leaves, treating it like Swiss chard.  The toxic levels of oxalic acid in rhubarb leaves caused cramps, nausea and even death. Needless to say, they gave up on the plant for several hundred years.

Eventually the Europeans found you could eat the stalks with no ill effects. They cooked the leaf stems to use in tarts, inspiring rhubarb’s nickname of pie plant.

Consider growing your own rhubarb in a sunny spot at the edge of the vegetable garden, back of the flowerbed or container. Rhubarb’s large leaves provide the perfect backdrop for annual and perennial flowers.

Select a weather-proof pot and quality potting mix when growing it in a container. Water regularly and provide winter protection as needed.

A bit more information:  Properly prepare the soil before planting rhubarb in the garden. These perennial vegetables can remain productive for decades with proper soil preparation and care.

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