‘Special technique’ to harvest rhubarb for a ‘higher yield’ for up to 20 years

Rhubarb plants are the ideal choice for garden novices and first time vegetable growers as they are very forgiving. 

One large clump will provide a good crop and give gardeners a tasty treat when little else in the garden is ready to harvest. It is also quite a sight in the vegetable garden with its large, distinctive leaves and striking red stems. 

Rhubarb plants make an excellent investment as with a little care and attention, they will be trouble-free and provide a plentiful harvest for up to 20 years without needing to be replaced. 

However for this vegetable plant to last, it needs to be harvested the “right way” according to gardening experts at Gardenize. They have shared a “special technique” for harvesting rhubarb to prevent “damaging the plant”. 

They said: “Harvesting rhubarb this way ensures your plant stays healthy and continues producing for next year’s harvest.”

The gardening pros urged that the “most important thing to remember when harvesting rhubarb is ‘do not cut’ it as this can cause the plant to rot and infect the roots”.

Instead, they suggested “pulling and twisting” the rhubarb off, this way “it comes off straight from the root”. 

The experts explained: “The plant then recognises that a whole stalk is gone and starts working on replacing it. As a result, you will have a higher-yielding harvest.”

Gardening gurus at Jacksons Nurseries agreed with this method and urged gardeners not to cut sticks off as a clean cut into the flesh of the stems may “cause the crown to rot”.

Don’t miss…
Gardening task to ‘cut down on’ during a heatwave that can cause plants to ‘die’[TIPS]
Patio black spots will ‘disappear quickly’ when using ‘cheap’ household item[EXPERT]
‘Magic’ 75p item that ‘works better than white vinegar’ to fix ‘rough’ towels[COMMENT]

They said: “The best technique is to snap sticks off by holding them at the base and gently pulling outwards, twisting at the same time. You’ll find they detach easily. 

“Pick the largest stems first once the leaves have fully opened. Sticks should typically be pulled when they are about 25 to 30cm long, although this varies by variety. 

“We recommend taking one-third to a maximum of a half of stem at a time to avoid excessively weakening your plants for the following season.”

Gardeners need to avoid harvesting rhubarb sticks during the first season after planting and harvest lightly in the second season to avoid excessively weakening the rhubarb plants early on.

After, the sticks of early varieties can be harvested as early as February. Finish harvesting stems of mid-season varieties by the end of May and late varieties by the end of August to allow the rootstocks to regain strength and refuel before the onset of winter.

Usually after three years the harvest period runs for eight to 10 weeks and each crown will give two to three pickings, so there’s plenty of time to get a good crop without taking everything at once.

Be sure to allow at least a few weeks between harvests to allow rhubarb plants to recover. If the stalks become thin and weak, the experts urged gardeners to stop harvesting as this suggests the plants’ food reserves are “depleted and need to be replenished” before further stalks are harvested. 

For those who find their rhubarb stalks have poor taste and ill colour, it may be because they’ve been harvested too late. Try harvesting earlier when the weather is cooler and with more moisture next year.

Source: Read Full Article