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Harvesting Rhubarb Plants

Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown vegetables? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the benefits of your labor: the best time to harvest your plants, and how to store your vegetables.

NOTE: This is part 11 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow rhubarb plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

When to Harvest

For best results, wait until the second year of growth to lightly harvest stalks. By the third year, your crop should be more abundant. After the third year, harvest stalks after they reach the desired size, 10-15 inches long, from mid-April until late June. At this time give the plant a chance to rebuild its food reserves for next years crop. Since color varies by type of rhubarb, it cannot be used as a factor for when to harvest.

The simplest way to harvest rhubarb is to grasp the stalk near the base, then pull up and slightly to one side. Alternatively, you can cut the stalks at ground level. The stalk are edible but remove the leaves.

To rejuvenate plant growth when stalks become thin, dig up the plants and divide them, then move them in the fall or the spring. Remove any seed heads as they appear because they can reduce stalk growth. Wait for 2 years before harvesting again.

Storage

You can store rhubarb in the refrigerator in plastic bags for a couple of weeks.

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