How To Harvest Rhubarb

How To Harvest Rhubarb

It is important to harvest your vegetables at the right times and in the right way to get the most out of your crops. Rhubarb is no different, and here gardener Tom Cole shows us how to harvest your rhubarb plants for maximum potential.

Step 1: You will need

  • A hand fork

Step 2: When to harvest

The harvesting period for rhubarb is late spring through to the end of summer. It is important not to pull any stems in the plants first year as that will seriously weaken the plant. Allow it this time to establish a strong root system. In the second season, only harvest in the first two weeks. In subsequent years you may do so throughout the appropriate period. Pull stems between 1.5 and 2.5cm's that are quite firm, with a good dark pink colour.

Step 3: Harvesting

Take a stem as close as possible to the base of the plant, and pull gently whilst twisting to ensure it comes away neatly. Never cut or dig the plant, as pulling removes the most plant and invigorates the roots. Pull or cut the leaves from the stem as they contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous. If it is the plants second season, only pull two per plant, leaving at least five healthy stems. In following seasons you may remove 3 or 4 stems per plant, as long as you leave a similar amount.

Step 4: Storage

Your rhubarb should be used as soon as possible after harvesting, in order to get the best results from the plant. The stems can be frozen once they have been prepared.