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Rhubarb belongs to the perennial herbaceous plants of the Buckwheat family. China is considered the homeland of origin, where it grows in abundance in damp places, river banks, reaching 2 meters in height. Cultivated most of all in China and Eastern Tibet. Cold-resistant culture. Distributed in cold regions. Grows superbly in the south. The most familiar species in Russia and other CIS countries is Rhubarb (Rheum officinale), used in official and traditional medicine, in cooking.
Rhubarb belongs to the group of well-developed perennials with a woody stem and branched rhizome of brown or reddish color, which grows in depth up to 50 cm and to the sides - up to 100 cm. It grows in partial shade and in light places. Aerial stems are annual, only rhizome hibernates. Stems are green with rare red streaks and spots, furrowed, rough due to small elastic villi, hollow inside. The stem is covered with leaves of two varieties. Basal - long-petiolized, up to 30 pieces, very large. The length of the petiole is 60-70 cm. The leaf blade is from whole to palmate-lobed. The base of the petioles of smaller stem leaves ends at the stem with a wide bell. A high paniculate inflorescence is located at the top of the stem. The inflorescence is 50 cm or more tall, leafy, spread out, consisting of small flowers with white,yellowish or greenish, red or pink corolla. Blooms in the 3rd year, in June. The fruits are triangular nuts. Ripen in July. Showered. Sprout next year. Given the power of the bush aboveground mass, it is better to grow rhubarb in a separate vegetable bed or along the paths. In one place, rhubarb grows for 10-15 years.
Useful properties of rhubarb
Rhubarb - belongs to the earliest vegetable crops. Vitamins of group B, PP, A, C and others, high content of sugars and rutin, malic and other organic acids, pectin substances in the spring are higher than those of apples and will completely replace them. The leaves and root of rhubarb have a healing effect. The main property of the root is choleretic and laxative. It is used for anemia and lung diseases. The infusion of the leaves has anti-inflammatory properties. Leaf salads lower blood sugar levels, and leaves brewed like tea improve vision.
When harvesting, petioled leaves are pulled out of the soil. Only leaf petioles rich in proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and other useful compounds are used for food. Fresh leaf stalks plucked from the garden have a slightly sour apple flavor and apple smell. They are used in a processed form - for the preparation of vitamin soups, especially after a severe surgical intervention in the body, as a filling for pies. From the petioles, very tasty, with a delicate aroma, jelly, compotes are obtained. The leaves grow very quickly, so that early ripening varieties provide the owners with a fresh, fortified product all summer.
Features of planting rhubarb
Of the soils, it prefers loamy, moisture-intensive, grows calmly on other types of soils. Since autumn, organic and mineral fertilizers are applied to a layer of 35-40 cm. After digging, around October, the seeds are sown in an ordinary way, after 20-25 cm. You can also grow through seedlings, but seed stratification is necessary. Seedlings (seedlings) or cuttings of rhizomes are planted at a distance of 50-80 cm. Humus, compost or nitrophosphate are added for planting at the rate of 60-90 g / sq. m. It is more practical to propagate the culture by dividing the rhizome.
Features of rhubarb care
Care - loosening and watering. The latter is carried out after 2-3 weeks with a sufficient rate of water. After sowing, planting, watering, the soil must be mulched. In late autumn, the aboveground mass is cut into a stump (12-15 cm) and, when frost occurs, it is covered with spruce branches or other organic material. The first cleaning is carried out for 3 years, sometimes for the 2nd. To get sufficiently thick bleached petiole shoots, in spring the bush is spud up to 25-30 cm.When the petioles begin to lift the soil crust, the soil is raked off and the petiole shoot is broken off at the base. Then the soil is put back in place. If the shoots are harvested green, no hilling is carried out. The petiole shoot is broken out when it reaches 20 cm in height.
Rhubarb varieties for suburban cultivation
Early varieties of rhubarb: Moskovsky-42, Tukumsky-5, Victoria.
Mid-season: Ogres-13, Cyclops, Large-peeled, Zaryanka, Stubborn.
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