|Wait! Sometimes it doesn’t work.|
Those rhubarb plants demanded no maintenance, no trimming or thinning or weeding. Year after year they provided sour stalks for rhubarb cakes and pale wines and for the kinds of makeshift swords that brothers are wont to stripe each other with on hot summer days. Every yard in Minnesota, it seemed, had one or more. No one ever spent any time or effort trying to make it grow.*
Once I started looking for easy preps, it didn’t take long to discover perennials, those plant-'em-once, harvest-'em-forever wonders that every noob gardener should begin with. Horseradish I had already, and I added asparagus right away. Jerusalem artichokes I planted later, after years of trying to convince myself they might be edible. All of those are doing fine, though none grow quite as well as my horseradish. But the fourth perennial is rhubarb, and I just can’t make it grow here in Kansas.
So I’ve officially given up on it. Not because I don’t want to grow rhubarb, but because there are better places where one can spend limited time and effort. Some things work and others don’t, and one's time is best invested looking for workarounds or substitutes for those that don’t rather than banging one’s head against the barn in frustration. If I ever need rhubarb, the stuff grows like crazy in my brother’s yard back in Minnesota.
Maybe he’ll trade me some for a batch of fresh horseradish.
* My dad hated the stuff and after we boys were gone he tried many times to kill it. He finally succeeded by ripping the roots out and planting horseradish in the midst of its ruin. Third Punic War, FTW.
** All things considered, dad was no Scipio.