rhubarb rookie

candyinpok(5b or 6, NY)July 22, 2005

I hope I'm in the right spot, because I don't know if Rhubarb is classified a fruit or vegetable plant on this forum, but I found a thread on edible landscape.

Any way, my husband two years ago bought a pair of rhubarb plants and put them at the end of my tomato/pepper patch. They are now giants that take up half my plot.

I have read numerous articles about rhubarb and now understand that I should have been harvesting small stalks in June, just after leaf out. However, our rhubarb doesn't turn red. Many of the stalks that are now huge are red at the base. They are tough and unappetizing. If I harvest new slender stalks for cooking, what about the outside ones that are big, bug chewed and broken?

Also, our plants seem to have more than one center. There were flower stalks earlier and my husband eventually cut them out. There are about four little separate plants it seems with stalks growing out of them pointing out in four different directions instead of one center like celery.

These are such basic stupid newbie questions none of the nice articles on line address these issues.

I'd appreciate any comments you have please.

Thanks for replying.


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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Not all varieties of rhubarb are red, the green varieties may get a little red. There is little to no difference in the taste of red and green varieties. If you want redder sauces and jams, you can add food colouring.

If the stalks get too large they get more fibrous, but since they are usually cooked to mush for sauces, jams, pies etc they are still usable.

Rhubarb will flower if allowed to mature and the crowns do spread and put up new buds. Since you haven't harvested yours, it is growing well.

You can divide the crown into separate plants by digging and cutting them apart, do this in early spring or fall, not now at the height of summer heat.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Rhubarb

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 12:38AM
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candyinpok(5b or 6, NY)

Wow, that was a really good site. I don't know why google didn't find it for me.

Thanks for your answers. They made me feel better. We made rhubarb and strawberry chutney last year from garden center fruit, thus the desire to grow our own.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 9:10AM
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That was a good site! One thing we do with our rhubard besides pies/tarts and jam (mixed with other fruits or alone) is to use it when making sweet apple sauce (pretty pink) or if you steam your own juices use some in a mixed batch.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 10:18AM
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