[Market-farming] Rhubarb harvesting

Janet Bachmann janetb at ncat.org
Thu May 19 08:31:59 EDT 2005

Absolutely right!  The leaves are needed to restore energy to the 
roots.  Stalks should not be pulled the first year rhubarb is planted, 
and should not be over-pulled at any time, as a certain amount of 
foliage is required for the development of the present crop as well as 
next year's crop.  A Michigan gardener, Sue Robishaw, writes in 
Countryside & Small Stock Journal, July-August 2004, p. 53-54, that she 
harvests thumb size and larger stalks, leaving the smaller ones to 
supply the plant. There are both red and green stalk varieties of 
rhubarb, so stalk color has no bearing on whether or not it is usable.  
Rhubard grew fine in my mother's zone 5 garden in Iowa, but it is not 
easy to grow in northwest Arkansas, zone 6 or 7.  

>I have always been told to leave some on the plant for nurishment or whatever to get it through to the next year.  What ever the reason was, it sounds good so I just do it and I have beautiful huge rhubard every year!  
>Herb Thyme
>Middlefield, Oh
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Janet Bachmann
Agriculture Specialist
National Center for Appropriate Technology
P.O. Box 3657
Fayetteville, AR  72702
(479)442-9842 fax
janetb at ncat.org 

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