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Harvest Rhubarb the Right Way

When it's time to harvest rhubarb, there are a few things to consider. Read more about it below!

Stor rabarberplanta med skördade stjälkar bredvid.

It's time to harvest rhubarb in my garden! This plant looks ready.


In May and June, it's peak season for harvesting rhubarb here in the kitchen garden! The plants are producing new stalks at record speed, and they are just perfectly tender and beautiful. I harvest rhubarb often and freeze it for winter. But how do you harvest rhubarb the right way?


Read more: Growing rhubarb from seed


Pull the stalk

The gentlest way to harvest rhubarb is to simply pull the stalk from the plant. Just follow the stalk down towards the base of the plant, and then give it a gentle tug. This will make the whole stalk come off without breaking.

I usually start by taking the outer stalks first, and then I work my way towards the middle of the plant. This way, the growth point remains intact, and the plant can continue producing beautiful stalks.


Read more: Spicy rhubarb sauce with oat crumble
Time to harvest rhubarb, close-up of rhubarb stalks.

It's easy to harvest rhubarb by simply pulling the stalks from the plant.


Don't cut the rhubarb

Simply cutting the stalks off the plant might seem like a convenient solution, but I would advice against it. A cut stalk will leave a wound on the plant, which increases the risk of infections as bacteria and/or fungal spores can make their way down into vital parts of the plant underground. This can even cause rot if you're unlucky. So, avoid cutting the stalks.

The plant won't die if you harvest a few stalks the wrong way or if you occasionally fail to pull them off correctly. However, it's good to harvest properly most of the time so the plant has the capacity to recover on the occasions when things don't go as planned.


Read more: Freezing rhubarb


Harvest rhubarb, bottom of stalk.

This is what the bottom of the stalks look like after I pulled them from the plant.


How much rhubarb to harvest?

If your rhubarb is healthy and producing a lot of stalks, then you don't really need to think about being overly cautious. The important thing is to have a good system for fertilizing the rhubarb so it has enough energy to keep growing.


Read more: Peeling rhubarb


Close-up of rhubarb stalks.

I have plenty of rhubarb plants in my garden, so that I can harvest a little bit from each plant.


However, remember to be more careful with younger plants so that you don't deplete them when they're still establishing. You should ideally not harvest at all the first year after planting. The following year, you can take one or two stalks. You will notice when you can harvest more, the plant just needs to "beef up" to handle a larger harvest.


More: Follow me on YouTube


You can continue to harvest rhubarb throughout the growing season. Remember that you can freeze your rhubarb too, which makes it easy to use it for syrups and marmalades at a later time. Simply freeze the stalks and save them until you want to use them. The stalks are at their best in the spring and early summer, so this is the perfect time to harvest and freeze. Good luck!

/Sara at Skillnaden's

17. May 2024