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Growing Rhubarb (continued - page 3)

Harvesting Rhubarb

Young rhubarb plant. Click to enlarge. Copyright David Marks.

Tempting though it may be, do not pull any stems during the first season - this would seriously weaken the plant. Let the plant grow during the first year and establish a good healthy root system.

During the second season, pull only a few stems, ensuring that you only pull two per plant at any one time and that five healthy stems always remain.

In subsequent years pull three or four stems at a time always leaving three or four - the cropping season is early May to July or August, and you should get two or three chances during this time. Select the largest stalks, waiting for the leaves to fully open before pulling. 

Stalks are taken by gently pulling the stalk as low as possible to the base of the plant and at the same time twisting. The leaves can go on the compost heap - definitely don't eat them because they are poisonous.

Force Rhubarb
Forced rhubarb is delicious - the stems are more tender, sweeter and don't need to be peeled. It's a simple process and well worth trying.

All you need is a container (dustbin, box, large pot, bucket etc.) which will exclude light. Place it over the rhubarb as soon as it begins to show signs of growth. The lack of light and the heating effect of the container will rapidly bring on the rhubarb which should be ready for eating in about four weeks, a good month or so before rhubarb that is not forced. When the rhubarb is picked (or it outgrows the covering) remove the covering and leave the rhubarb to recover for next year. Have a go, it's really simple and worthwhile.

Pests and Diseases
Originating from Siberia, rhubarb is very strong and suffers from few diseases or pests. The only problem will be Crown rot - the top of the plant rots badly and it can be knocked of with ease. There is no cure, dig up the infected plant and burn it.

Which Variety
GardenAction recommend Cawood Delight - the stalks are long and scarlet with a great taste. A second choice is Victoria which is the best variety to choose if you want to grow from seed.

Rhubarb Home Page        Previous Rhubarb Page


Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 18, 2011 - 08:04 pm
Message: Follow the advice on this web page regarding harvesting. All the rest you've done is really good

Name: franklaird
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 18, 2011 - 06:34 am
Message: I have just received a full crown from a friend(Nov 2011) and split it into 3 , prepared the ground Filled base with good compost , covered with good soil and planted level with soil surface. Do I still have to wait 2 years before harvesting???

Name: peter
Date posted: October 28, 2011 - 04:46 pm
Message: I meant to state I cover around the plant with grass clippings, not over it.

Name: Peter
Date posted: October 28, 2011 - 04:43 pm
Message: I split my rhubarb in NZ in August 2011, I don't take a lot of care, just split it with the spade. I dig out the ground and replace the lower portion 100 to 200mm with heaps of well rotted compost. Replant it straight back into this and top up with soil, I never cover the crown. I also use lightly watered down animal manure, then cover the growing plant with grass clippings. Excellent growth now after only 2 months. Give it plenty of watered in fertiliser you can't kill it.

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 27, 2011 - 05:52 pm
Message: Rita

I suggest to contact the production team of the show and send them an image of your rhubarb. It may be the one.

Name: Rita Gower
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 27, 2011 - 04:10 pm
Message: Just watched the Great British Food revival on BBC2. The person who grows Rhubard and has the collection. We have a rhubard plant in our garden which is over 40years old. Don't know the variety, but wondered if it was the variety he is looking for.

Name: chas
Date posted: October 10, 2011 - 11:35 am
Message: first time growing rhubarb and it got battered with high winds and gails will it be ok stems broken off nothing on the plant.

Name: Marilyn Moore
Date posted: September 19, 2011 - 07:13 pm
Message: Do I cut all the stalks and leaves off in late fall?

E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 18, 2011 - 06:31 am
Message: can i still pick rhubarb in september
as i have a lot of it

Name: david nelson
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 27, 2011 - 10:11 am
Message: can i freeze rhubarb

Name: Geralynn
Date posted: August 08, 2011 - 12:29 am
Message: These topics are so connfusig but this helped me get the job done.

Name: Janet Williamson
Date posted: August 05, 2011 - 09:52 am
Message: We have planted several verities of red rhubarb for years and they are always come up green. They taste great, but would rather have the red color for pies. We have very little sun only about 3 hours a day. Could this be the reason?

Name: Dudley Taylor
Date posted: August 02, 2011 - 04:27 pm
Message: My rhubarb is in its third year and is abundant, but does not turn red except at the base. What is the problem?

Name: shirley
Date posted: July 22, 2011 - 02:33 pm
Message: My Rhubarb is green and don't seem to be turning red is this right as it is my first time in growing Rhubarb. although we have waited and it has been there two years now (it was green last year aswell)

Name: pat
Date posted: July 20, 2011 - 08:07 am
Message: Could you please help me. I have been growing rhubarb for two years now but the stems are very mottled with dark lines. Could you please tell me what this is and do I have to burn them. Thanks for your help Pat.

Name: Mike Norbury
Date posted: July 17, 2011 - 06:51 am
Message: My rhubarb (Victoria) which was grown from seed 4 years ago is again covered in Blackfly. Why?

Name: mick clarke
Date posted: June 16, 2011 - 11:19 am
Message: I understand not to use the rhubarb in the first year, it is gowing so well and is now a very large plant. when in fact do I pick in first year is it when dying off


Name: neil martin
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 14, 2011 - 12:43 pm
Message: My rhubarb has been in the same positiom for 20 yrs and now has a very poor growth. what is the temedy and how should i feed it. The site is south lanarshire subject to strong winds and cool temps

Name: Dee
Date posted: May 31, 2011 - 05:15 pm
Message: Something is eating my rhubarb. Having dug out the crowns in March haveing been told to expose the crowns to cold then replanted in well nourished soil and degraded horse manure I was hoopeful. However no luck. Damage to leaves poor growth evidence of slug damage but also a small black slug as well as as usual monster slugs and nails. The roots also appear to have a white centipede should I dump the lot and start again. If so which type would you recommend

Name: Marilyn
Date posted: May 26, 2011 - 01:54 pm
Message: can anyone help please my rhubarb plot and also a friends plot on the allotment has some insect making holes in the leaves.Some of the stalks have holes in them to.