Rhubarb - Growing & Harvesting - 8 Recipes for Cooking Rhubarb

2 Materials
1 Hour
Rhubarb is so easy to grow, especially in northern gardens. It's a perennial plant so plant it once and watch it grow every single year! Here's how to grow Rhubarb, plus 8 recipes.

Rhubarb is a very non fussy plant to grow. It takes some abuse, as long as it gets watered. It takes a year to settle in, then stand back and watch this plant get huge.

Here's our Rhubarb Bed after a couple of years - you may not want as many plants as we have here because we get HUGE harvests every year.

For many gardeners, one or two plants is plenty to eat Rhubarb fresh and preserved.
This is what Rhubarb looks like when it first comes up in the Spring. Each Fall it will die back and you can trim it. But, leave some stalks on to die off naturally - this is what will give you more Rhubarb the next year.

Rhubarb can be grown from seed but it takes longer to harvest. Buy a plant from the nursery or from a friend who is dividing their plant. This way you can get a small harvest later the same year.

Rhubarb likes good soil, so be sure to add some compost or well rotted manure to the hole. Each Spring, top dress the plants by spreading compost around the plant.
We harvest in June here in BC, but yours may be ready sooner or later depending on where you live. Cut each stalk down low - you can also snap them off by twisting the stalk.

The first year you plant it, only pick a few stalks. Your patience will be rewarded next year when the plant is loaded with stalks! And every year after that, you can pick most of the plants stalks.

Rhubarb is pretty hardy so you don't have to be very gentle with it. After trimming, we lay the leaves down on the ground around the plants - they work as a great weed barrier!

ALWAYS leave some stalks on each plant. Never completely strip the plant; if you do it will probably not come back the following year.

We pick the largest stalks (and they get huge) and work down in size from there. You can pick the whole plant at one time if you like - just make sure you leave at least 6 stalks on it. Pick the largest and leave the smallest.

Basically, all it takes to grow your own Rhubarb is:

add a good amount of compost to the planting hole (1 ice cream bucket worth)

water it regularly

That's it.
Come over to Country Living and take a look at 8 Rhubarb recipes.

You can make ice cream, make wine, fruit crisp and lots of delicious things with Rhubarb. Freeze it, can it, dehydrate it - you have lots of choices.

Here's Rhubarb growing alongside Lovage (a herb) and Chives. I think this bed looks very pretty!

Edible perennials are great - not only are they nice to look at, they offer free food every single year. Perennials will die back in the fall and come back up every Spring. Some people have Rhubarb plants more than 20 years old.

If you are a beginner (or super busy) gardener, here are the 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow. Take a few minutes out of your day and grow a bit of your own food
Suggested materials:
  • Rhubarb plant   (Garden Center)
  • Compost   (Garden Center)
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Sherry R Sherry R on Apr 03, 2018

    I actually have a very large and extremely productive rhubarb patch and I usually harvest from June through mid-September. The secret, I think, is to NEVER cut the stalks. I always do the twist and pull move and for the last 15 years or more I have been getting more rhubarb than I can possibly use.

    • Annie Annie on Apr 03, 2018

      I've done both but never found any lasting difference to the plant. Isn't Rhubarb delicious, we just love it!