Rhubarb Rhubarb roots should be planted in early spring before soil heats. Ideally your soil should have low compost percentage and be well drained in order to avoid rot. Set rows 5-6 feet apart and 3 feet apart within the row. Do not bury the entire “plant” under the soil. This means that 1/4 to 1/3 of the “plant” will be above ground level. If the bud itself is below the soil line it may rot off and fail to grow. It is better to plant too shallow than too deep. You should see new green growth in about 2 weeks. If you plant late after soil warms cover the crown bud with 1/4” to 1/2” loose soil. Do not pick stalks during the first year of growth. This allows the plant to strengthen itself. A light picking may be taken during the second year of growth. The following years picking will be much better. To harvest, pull the stalks from the plant and discard the leaves. The leaves contain a high amount of oxalic acid which will irritate the mouth and should not be eaten. If seed stalks appear during the spring and summer, cut them off at the base and discard. Maximum quality leafstalks are obtained in early spring when they are crisp and fairly thick. An application of manure or mulch is beneficial in late fall or early winter but do not cover the crowns with a deep layer. Bare root crowns not shipped after May 10, dependant upon location.