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How and When to Harvest Rhubarb

By: Julie Day
Rhubarb plant sprouting in spring garden

Rhubarb plant sprouting in spring garden.

How do you know when to harvest rhubarb? –Rick

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable grown for its wonderful, tart leafstalks. The key to growing rhubarb is to get a good harvest without damaging the plant for next year.

Here are some tips for harvesting rhubarb:

  • Harvest in Spring: Rhubarb is primarily harvested in spring and early summer (just in time for strawberry-rhubarb pie!). The stalks are crisp and tastier early in the season; as summer progresses rhubarb stalks can get woody and tough.
  • Pace Yourself: Never remove more than half the rhubarb plant each year. To keep the plant strong, it’s generally best to harvest just a few stalks at a time, as you need them, rather than doing a large harvest. Harvest the larger rhubarb stalks (a foot long or so), and leave the smaller ones to grow.
  • Stop in Summer: Stop harvesting by June, to give your rhubarb a rest. The plants need some time to grow and build up reserves and roots, to ensure a good harvest next year.
  • Start Slow: If you’ve just planted rhubarb, you shouldn’t harvest any this year. Next year, you can harvest for a week or two, and by year three you can have a normal 8-10 week harvest season.
  • Pull Stalks: The best way to harvest rhubarb is to grab the stalk and pull or twist it simultaneously down and sideways, until it snaps off. If you prefer to cut yours with a knife, be extremely careful not to nick the adjoining stalks. Promptly remove and compost the leaves – they contain poisonous oxalic acid and shouldn’t be eaten.


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7 Comments on “How and When to Harvest Rhubarb”

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  • John Barney Says:
    May 26th, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Can you please tell me what brand and color paint was used in Ryan and Cloe’s bathroom. Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Chelsea Lipford Wolf Says:
    May 23rd, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Roger! I used a Finish Max from Homeright. I found it worked exceptionally! The trick, though, with any paint sprayer is that you clean it out VERY well. Every. Time. ~Chelsea

  • Roger Udtujan Says:
    May 20th, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    what is the brand of the new paint sprayer that Chelsea used in Ryan and Chloe bathroom reno? How is it compared to other paint sprayers? Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Chelsea Lipford Wolf Says:
    May 23rd, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Karen! Thanks for watching! I used Homeright’s Finish Max HVLP sprayer for their cabinets. I love it! ~Chelsea

  • Karen wilson Says:
    May 20th, 2018 at 8:05 am

    In Ryan and Chloe’s bathroom you used a paint sprayer that you recommend for cabinets because it is low flow and good for interior use. Can you please give me the brand name and model? Thank you!

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 24th, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Hi, Marv,

    We used Homeright’s Finish Max HVLP sprayer for Ryan and Chloe’s cabinets. “Today’s Homeowner” co-host Chelsea says she enjoys it very much.

  • Marv Brozell Says:
    May 20th, 2018 at 7:14 am

    On Ryan and Chloe’s Bathroom Makeover , what was the make and model of paint sprayer that you used ?

    Thank you. Marv

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How and When to Harvest Rhubarb