How to start a new rhubarb bed

The cottage came with a plot of rhubarb at the top of the garden and these plants must be 50 years old by now and understandably they crop very little these days, hence the need for new plants in a new bed.
I would like to ask how many plants should I grow in my new 6 x 4  raised bed, how to plant the crowns and what variety might suit my acidic soil. The bed is situated in a sunny location and is well drained and is protected from strong winds by a wind break. The garden is 1100 feet above sea level.  It was suggested I try Livingstone as it will crop twice, would that cultivar be a good one to go for or can you suggest an alternative? 
I read online I should plant the crowns with the growing tip 2.5cm below the surface of the soil. Another source though confused me by saying plant the growing tips one cm above the soil! What is the correct way to do it? How should I mulch in the Autumn?
I will not take any cuttings this year and only very few next year, to give the new plants ample time to establish.

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  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 2,126
    6 x 4 what? Feet, metres? 

    I read somewhere that the best way to make an asparagus bed is to dig a hole six feet deep and drop in a dead donkey!  The point being that, like rhubarb, it needs a long term home and can't be moved around, so needs a long term supply of nutrients.
  • Fine, but can you answer my question about the depth of the crowns? 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,875
    edited 20 February
    My one five year old crown of Timperly Early occupies a space at least 1m x 1m.


    It crops from late Feb/early March until July when I stop pulling any stems to enable it to build the crown up again for the following year.

    i didn’t take any crop in the first year and only a couple of pickings in the second year. 

    I never pull more more than one third of the total stalks at any one time. 

     I mulch it in the autumn and feed with Fish, Blood and Bone in late Feb/early March and give it a bucket of water every other day in dry spells through the spring/summer. 



    When I planted it the new shoots of the crown were just proud of the soil.  

    I hope that helps. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,305
    Dove, do you mulch around or over it? I think I may have lost mine :(
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,156
    That's a  nice patch Dove. 

    I've several crowns in an area about 6 by 6ft. The crowns are just showing and they get mulched in the autumn. I mulch around the crowns and they got a first at the Great Eccleston show in 2017 so  I must be doing something right.

    They are old crowns so can't recommend a variety but they were split last year and produced some tasty stems. You maybe able to use plants from the old patch, splitting  and replanting may give then new vigour.        
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 581
    If you like the taste of the old ones split them, I put mine in level with the ground but they will sort themselves out, Rhubarb is very forgiving it won't matter how deep you put it (within reason) My clumps are also an type that came with my house so I cannot advise on sorts, but they need over 1m2 each mine grow to  about 1.5m by 1.5m after 3 years. I split them on the 4th
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 1,843
    @Capelglyn you don't have to buy new plants just dig up and divide the old crowns. The old growth in the middle will be no good choose younger shoots from the outside. Plant into good rich soil with tips just above surface as already suggested by previous posters.
    AB Still learning

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 53,875
    LG_ said:
    Dove, do you mulch around or over it? I think I may have lost mine :(
    I mulch around the crown. They don’t need frost protection ... they’re native to Siberia  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,305
    I kind of mulched around the crowns in autumn (though there wasn't really anything much visible, I'd marked where they were) but over the winter some mulch fell into the gaps. Not much, I didn't worry about it... but no sign  of any rhubarb now :(
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Thanks to everyone for their comments and helpful advice. 

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