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Help with rhubarb please

Hi All

I inherited some well-established rhubarb plants when I moved to my house in January 2020 but I don't know what variety they are. Over the past couple of summers I've had good crops. I think I probably started picking around the beginning of May this year and they're still producing plenty of sturdy stems. However, I've read that I should stop picking around the end of July to give the plant time to 'gather its strength' for the winter. I think that last year I picked some as late as middle of August with no obvious detrimental effect.

So, I guess the 2 questions I have are
  1. when is the latest I should be picking? and
  2. what should I do with the plants at the end of the season (i.e., in preparation for winter)?
Last year - around October - I had a gardener come in to get rid of an overgrown buddleia and he tidied up the rhubarb plants as well but I didn't really see what he did.

Thanks in advance for any advice
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Posts

  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,587
    @Dovefromabove - rhubarb guru ;)

  • The rule of thumb is to stop picking end of June /middle of July to allow the plants to build up reserves for next year.
    However as the weather has been for many of us very strange, we weren't able to pick any until the middle of May. Therefore we are still picking now but will stop at the end of this month.
    Our plants are very robust and have multiple stems on each crown.
    They have been in our garden for over 40 years and always give us a good return.
    They are mulched every autumn/winter once the leaves have died down.
    No idea the variety as we didn't plant them.
  • Thanks @bertrand-mabel, they sound very similar to my plants - although, whether they've been there 40 years, I wouldn't know.

    When you say "They are mulched every autumn/winter once the leaves have died down.", presumably you pull all the stems off? I think that's what the gardener did last year and recommended I cover them over the winter (I used an old plastic dustbin with a breeze block on top to stop it blowing away).
  • @60seconds no we don't take the leaves off, we allow the plants to die back naturally and just put home made compost on top.
    We don't cover them otherwise over the winter.
    Usually we get the new stems showing in January and start picking small amounts end of Feb, but this year was a big exception.
    I freeze rhubarb to have it later in the year as well as using it on top of breakfast cereal.
  • @bertrand-mabel - the house was unoccupied for a few months before I moved in so I suspect that's more or less what happened to mine before I inherited them, maybe without the homemade compost.

    Like you, I have a freezer full of rhubarb despite having it on my breakfast every day  :D
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,215
    Biglad said:
    @Dovefromabove - rhubarb guru ;)

    Thanks @biglad for the nudge … I’m away from home with iffy wifi at the moment. 
    However I agree with all that has been advised by @bertrand-mabel. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,587
    Apologies - I'm commandeering this thread ;) 

    These are two plants that I split off the parent plant at the end of 2020. They're in a spot that is very sheltered but doesn't get much direct sun. The bed had a good prep of horse manure prior to planting. I haven't harvested any this year, just removed a couple of dead stalks.

    Could their flat, weedy, curly growth be a result of growing conditions or have these stalks been trampled into these positions by a nocturnal visitor?




  • The thread is yours @Biglad B)

    Bearing in mind my lack of knowledge of rhubarb, I'd suggest that it's natural growth rather than trampling based on the fact that the stems seem to intertwine between the two plants. If they were trampled, I'd expect one plant to 'overlay' the other.

    I get a few stems like those which I've sort of assumed are some that get buried under the weight of the stronger/heavier stems. I've pulled them out this year to stop them from rotting on the ground.
  • BigladBiglad East LancashirePosts: 2,587
    Thanks :) Sounds entirely logical @60seconds

    Hasn't happened with any of mine before and I know that something visits that bed as they made 3 holes in the netting so I was putting two and two together ;)
  • Biglad said:
    Apologies - I'm commandeering this thread ;) 

    These are two plants that I split off the parent plant at the end of 2020. They're in a spot that is very sheltered but doesn't get much direct sun. The bed had a good prep of horse manure prior to planting. I haven't harvested any this year, just removed a couple of dead stalks.

    Could their flat, weedy, curly growth be a result of growing conditions or have these stalks been trampled into these positions by a nocturnal visitor?




    Where can I get one of these strawberry-rhubarbs?  :p

    I need a rhubarb soon, though.
    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
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