Binkalette
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Rhubarb - how many stalks?

How many stalks can I harvest off my rhubarb with out hurting it's chances of coming back next year? It was planted last spring, I didn't harvest any off of it last year and it is coming back nicely this spring. What do you think?

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rainbowgardener
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They generally say don't harvest any the first year, only harvest for two weeks the second year, taking two stems per plant, leaving at least five healthy stems. In following seasons, then after that you can harvest through spring and early summer, taking 4 stems per plant, as long as you leave a similar amount.
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FailedSlacker
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After three years, you can harvest up to a third of the plant at a time. We usually leave two weeks between harvests if we're doing the third thing.

Since our two plants feed about 8 different households, our rule of thumb when harvesting is to only grab stalks thicker than your thumb. There's enough thinner ones developing that we don't have to worry about keeping tabs with how much everyone has grabbed recently.

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applestar
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Aside from rhubarb and strawberry pie, what do you use rhubarb for?

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rainbowgardener
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what to do with rhubarb

That's a little like saying other than nectar of the gods, what do you use ambrosia for? What else do you need than the most wonderful dessert of all time?

But in case you do need something else, check this out:

https://www.rhubarbinfo.com/recipe-index.html

rhubarb pudding, custard, sauce, drinks, jam and jelly, cookies, breads, salad dressings (!), cobblers, muffins ..... I haven't tried it yet (my rhubarb is now in it's third season, so hopefully I can harvest more this year), but a friend gave me some wonderful rhubarb jelly.
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DoubleDogFarm
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What else do you need than the most wonderful dessert of all time?
Marrionberries :lol:

cynthia_h
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My largest rhubarb plant has decided to torment me this year. :(

It has grown the most beautiful, large, velvety and deeply colored...leaves. Stems? I should want to harvest stems???

No dice. This plant is only interested in producing leaves. Yes, the leaves *do* emerge from stems, but the stems are only 3" or 4" long (I parted the leaves just to check). Not much food there, except for the compost pile, as the leaves expire.

I didn't give this plant any nitrogen boosts during the winter; in fact, the only "extras" it's received since transplantation last September, which was a desperate bid to save its life (and the lives of my three other rhubarb plants), was some compost mixed into the large (18" or 20" across, maybe 18" deep, a tapered round container) container it lives in and a little more compost on the surface of the soil in October.

It lives along the south wall of the house (north side of driveway) and receives good sun and rain. I supplement the water if the eaves have restricted the plant's access to rain.

So I guess I'll purchase rhubarb again this year...$3.99 a pound it is, even at my local produce store. But I'd so much rather buy from him than the chain supermarkets.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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applestar
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I went to the farmer's market where I almost bought rhubarb plants last year. The woman thought she still had some, but when she went to see, they were gone. Well, this time, she said I was too early. :roll: She took my name and number and will call when they come in.

But! Now I'm not so sure I want them from her.... :?:
The thing is, when you grow from seed, you get spoiled. You make detailed study of the variety -- size, color, days to maturity, disease resistance, etc. When I walked around the market, I realized that all veg plants were simply labeled "tomato", "broccoli", "cabbage". Well OK they had "roma tomato" and "red cabbage". Likewise, the woman only knows she's getting "rhubarb".

Annual vegs are one thing, but we're talking rhubarb here. They're going to be in my garden for years. Look at [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=23946&highlight=]this other thread on rhubarb[/url].

Maybe I should just order from an on-line source afterall....
Right now, I'm leaning towards "Valentine" or "Red Valentine".
(Thanks for that rhubarb link, rainbowgardener! :D).

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But! Now I'm not so sure I want them from her....
The thing is, when you grow from seed, you get spoiled. You make detailed study of the variety -- size, color, days to maturity, disease resistance, etc. When I walked around the market, I realized that all veg plants were simply labeled "tomato", "broccoli", "cabbage". Well OK they had "roma tomato" and "red cabbage". Likewise, the woman only knows she's getting "rhubarb".
That's terrible labeling. You need to come over to my booth.

Some of the vegetables I sold today.

Labeling
Broccoli, Thompson, OP-70
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights OP-60
Tomato, Siletz, OP-70-75
Tomato, Legend, OP-68
Tomattillo, Mexican Strain, OP-65

Just to name a few.

Most of the vendors here, have good labeling. If I saw a tomato that just said tomato, I'd be walking away too. There are hundreds of tomatoes, dozens of red cabbages, etc...........

The Helpful Gardener
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There is always the time tested tradition of asking someone you know if you can have starts off of theirs...

HG
Scott Reil

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rainbowgardener
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That's how I got mine! But the trouble is the relative I got it from didn't know what kind of rhubarb she was growing, so I don't know what kind mine is either!
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JONA878
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That big old chestnut.............rhubarb...is it a fruit or a veg?

I guess strictly a veg , but it is only ever used as a fruit.

Jona.

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mtmickey
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I'm so sorry to hear some of you have such trouble with rhubarb. It grows like a weed where we live. My MIL has a monstrous plant that we basically "savage" every year and it just comes back stronger the next. Ours is going like gangbusters this year (2nd year in the ground) and I'm sure we'll get quite a harvest from it.

Another thing that is fabulous to use rhubarb for.....Rhubarb Wine...my favorite.

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It likes it cooler rather than hotter; our Connecticut weather seems just right for it as I have never seen a clump that didn't get huge here. Most of the time someone is trying to foist off a clump on somebody else...

The wife says she doesn't want any as she won't use it. I say she's nuts, and I am getting a clump from my friend Richard next time he asks...

HG
Scott Reil

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When I lived with my parents we had rhubarb we couldn't kill! One year my Dad decided he had had it and he just mowed over it all year. The next year I mowed around it..(I couldn't see killing anything) It was monstrous! I couldn't believe the size of it!
Dad eventually dug it out and got rid of it. But he obviously was paying attention to me...To this day when he mows you will find random clumps of daisy in the middle of the lawn that he has mowed around! I love that man!

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Nice story! :D

HG
Scott Reil

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cynthia_h wrote:My largest rhubarb plant has decided to torment me this year. :(

It has grown the most beautiful, large, velvety and deeply colored...leaves. Stems? I should want to harvest stems???

No dice. This plant is only interested in producing leaves. Yes, the leaves *do* emerge from stems, but the stems are only 3" or 4" long (I parted the leaves just to check). Not much food there, except for the compost pile, as the leaves expire.
One of mine is doing the same thing to me ;) The other one I had to transplant and part of it has died, but it still sent up a huge flower stalk (that I cut off). Might not get much rhubarb this year.

I also agree about the variety. I got Victoria, but that was before I realized it doesn't have red stems! Just a red blush, which is pretty bland looking in my color schemed bed. I wish I had gotten a true red variety, but I"m not about to kill what I have...

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applestar wrote:Aside from rhubarb and strawberry pie, what do you use rhubarb for?
Jamie Oliver has a wonderful recipe that deals with rhubarb and roast pork. If you have had pork with sauteed apples, try rhubarb instead. If I can find the recipe I will give it to you.

Also, I just recently planted a small rhubarb plant, I had it sitting in the container I bought it in all through the winter, and it came back up again. I finally planted it, next to the house, hopefully next year I will be able to use some of it.
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick

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Here is the link:

[url]https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pork-recipes/my-favourite-hot-and-sour-rhubarb-and-cr[/url]
Why buy produce when you can grow it?
-Nick

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applestar
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You guys are a bad influence! :x :wink:
I've ordered the Stark's brand (Starkrimson) since I didn't want to miss this Spring's shipping. (Normally, I take a lot longer to search out "the Perfect" one) :roll: They're shipping on Monday. Hopefully, it's as good as advertised.

... and while I was at it, I bought a little lemon tree... :roll: :roll:

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rainbowgardener
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Harvested rhubarb today! Think I will make strawberry rhubarb pie (store bought strawberries though :( , mine aren't producing yet).
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jal_ut
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In the spring I have taken all the stems. The plant will send out more leaves which I leave for it to make food for winter.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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rainbowgardener
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cynthia_h wrote:My largest rhubarb plant has decided to torment me this year. :(

It has grown the most beautiful, large, velvety and deeply colored...leaves. Stems? I should want to harvest stems???

No dice. This plant is only interested in producing leaves.
Cynthia, did you harvest the little 3-4" stems anyway? Mine was growing 6-8" stems, tolerable, but not nice long ones like in the grocery. But I harvested a bunch of them anyway, about two weeks ago. Since then it's growing like mad and the new stalks are getting much longer than the ones I took before. I'm going to harvest more soon. I don't know if it was just too early in the season before, or if harvesting stimulated it to grow more and longer....
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cynthia_h
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No, I just left them there. The leaves are enormous, though, and are good biomass for the compost. I will add some of the stems to a rhubarb dish, though, and see what happens after that; the season still isn't really warming up, so there might be follow-on growth.

Good tip! I'll let you know what happens. :)

Cynthia

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applestar
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My rhubarb plants are growing!! :()

I don't think I mentioned (here anyway, I vaguely remember talking about this in my edible landscaping or front yard fence row thread), but in addition to the two bareroots from Starks, that woman from the market called so I bought the one container of rhubarb. All three are growing but so far, the one from the market is ahead of the others with approximately 6-8" stems (greenish with red blush). StarKrimsons do have red, red stalks -- one was a good sized root when planted and is growing 4-6" stems, but the other one was wimpy 1/2 sized root and is only growing 2-3" stalks and smallish leaves.

I know last year, the bigger two eventually grew huge leaves on thick stalks, so I suppose I should wait a bit longer before thinking of harvesting them.

Do you typically wait until the strawberries start producing or do you harvest the rhubarb and freeze them to wait for the strawberries? What did you end up doing last year, Binkalette?

I'm going to go review the links to recipes that were posted earlier in this thread. Can't wait! :D

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jal_ut
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The thing is, when you grow from seed, you get spoiled.
I have never grown rhubarb from seed, but last year I saved some seed from my one plant. I want to see if I can grow it from seed. Have you done this and how did it turn out?

I planted a red rhubarb last year, but I don't see it coming up yet.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/rhubarb_10.jpg[/img]

Rhubarb is an awesome plant.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Rhubarb and strawberries.

Most of the recipes I ever see calling for rhubarb also calls for strawberries. All I can say is; that is a terrible waste of strawberries. Strawberries stand alone!

I don't even like rhubarb, but my wife does, so I grow it for her. I gave her strict instructions to not contaminate strawberries with rhubarb!!!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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:lol:

Jal, I haven't tried growing rhubarb from seed, though ones most offered that I see are Victoria and (I think) Canada Red. I meant that when you start growing vegs from seed, and start researching the varieties, you begin to realize there are a number of characteristics you can opt for and can become quite snobbish about it.

In the case of rhubarb, as somebody said, best way would be to get a division from somebody who has the kind of rhubarb you want to grow! (Preferably having sampled some culinary examples :wink:)

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stella1751
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When I was a kid, my mother always had a rhubarb patch. When she picked, she took everything. Then she cut the leaves off right there and placed them upside down on top of the plant. By the time the leaves had decayed, new stalks had begun pushing up through them.

This was all up in the north country: Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. She never did anything with it, so far as fertilizing or even watering goes, and she always had enough for pie, sauce, and rhubarb/strawberry jam.

If anyone wants a terrific old-timer recipe for rhubarb cream pie, let me know. It's great!
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

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applestar
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Yes, please! ...in the Recipes Forum :wink:

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stella1751
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Ah. That's embarrassing. Every year, it seems I learn about a new sub-forum. I will post it there.
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cynthia_h
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Don't worry about it, Stella. The *wurst* that could happen is that the recipe would end up in two places--here, with rhubarb, and there, with fellow recipes. :)

Cynthia, whose rhubarb stalks have grown to 8" this year!

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