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Old 08-02-2006, 12:04 AM   #1
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How do I know it's time to harvest Rhubarb?

This spring, I planted a Rhubarb plant my MIL brought with her. She's had it in a pot for years, and has never been able to harvest enough Rhubarb off it to make even one pie. Well, in the past several month, it's really taken off. I have probably 20 or so stalks, with absolutely huge leaves. When should I harvest it?

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Old 08-02-2006, 12:47 AM   #2
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We cut ours when the stems are nice and red.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:07 AM   #3
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when your wife says she need rhubarb!!!

actually, now that your rhubarb is growing, you can harvest the outer stalks. wait until the leaves are fully grown, then you may snap off the outer stalks at their base as you would seperate a stalk of celery from a bunch. if you cut the stalks, you could get rotting which will kill the plant.

leave at least 1/2 of the inner stalks growing to help the plant keep going thru the rest of the summer. on older developed plants, you can pick down to about 1/3rd.

btw, take your harvest now and leave the rest to continue growing for next year. don't pick too much into august.

so long as you're in a cooler clime, rhubarb is pretty forgiving and a robust grower.
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Old 08-02-2006, 01:45 AM   #4
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You shouldn't harvest any rhubarb in the first year after planting. If you harvest in the first year your plants will not produce during the second year since they need at least two seasons to become established. You can start harvesting during the third season. For further information on rhubarb cultivation see:

http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/rhubarb-growing.html

http://extension.unh.edu/Pubs/HGPubs/asparags.pdf
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Old 08-02-2006, 02:01 AM   #5
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aurora, i understand your warning, but i think it's an established plant that has just been transplanted, not a newly planted rhizome.
it should be ok to harvest, in fact beneficial, to harvest.
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:01 AM   #6
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Buckytom,

Thanks for the correction. I went back and re-read the post. If it's just a transplant then the first year harvest should be OK but I still wouldn't over harvest so as to allow the plants to become firmly established in the new location. I'd hate to have rhubarb pies this season only to be frustrated next season due to worn out plants.

Cheers.
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:17 AM   #7
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Allen, rhubarb is the most forgiving of plants. We routinely yank out a ton of the stuff and fill our freezers with it and stuff I bake with it. (Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmpie!!!!!!)

Just as an addendum to Bucky and Aurora's good advice, I pull the stalks out. You don't need to break them, just give them a hearty pull and they will come right out. And I am sure you already know this, but rhubarb leaves are poisonous so make sure you don't get ANY in your baking and discard them safely in the trash. Rhubarb is also too harsh on little kid tummies. Too many oxalates.
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:19 AM   #8
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I've been busy, so I haven't been able to get online for a few days.

The day after I started this thread, PeppA when and picked several of the stalks, enough to fill a gallon ziplock. Only one problem, she picked from the center out. Joy. I'm not sure if she "pulled", "broke", or "cut" the stalks. I also didn't see any leaves, so I'm assuming they got discarded somewhere. Since it's my MIL's plant, the stalks went home with her. I'll have to ask her if she made a pie yet. This is the first time she's gotten enough of a harvest to make a pie.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:28 AM   #9
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Be sure you pull the stalks, don't break them or cut them.
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