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Do I really need to wait a year for my rhubarb?


 
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poisonivy
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 07 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Do I really need to wait a year for my rhubarb? Reply with quote

Apart from a few potted vegetables I'm new to the whole gardening thing. I recently moved into a house with a garden from an apartment so I'm in my element planting what veg I can. I bought a rhubarb plant the other day and planted it in a nice sunny spot in the garden, after a bit of research I see that I'm meant to leave the plant for a year to establish itself before harvesting. There's already a few lovely stalks on the plant and I was looking forward to rhubarb this year. I also don't know whether I'll be in the house next year so it seems a bit of a waste not to harvest it. Is it absolutely imperative? And if it is, what exactly do I do with the stalks/leaves that grow? Just leave them there? Thanks in advance!
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Belfast
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How to Grow Rhubarb in Irelands Vegetable Gardens
"Days to Maturity
It is important to allow the plant to become well established before you begin to harvest the sticks; there they should not be taken until their second or third year after planting. Rhubarb can be picked in the spring as soon as the stalks are large enough to harvest in sufficient quantity for the recipe you are planning to use"
http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about476.html
How to Grow Rhubarb
http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about250.html
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poisonivy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Belfast. I had had a look at those articles, I guess I was just hoping that someone would say it's not strictly necessary. Guess I will try and dig it up when I leave and put it in it's new home. *says to moving people* watch the coffee table and be careful with the rhubarb crown... Laughing
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

where rhubarb is growing well and producing more than 3-4 strong stalks then pick one or two. the others are are left growing to allow the plant to build up reserves for the following year. There is no danger to your health but there is a danger that the plant will be weakened for the following year.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)
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poisonivy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Michael. That's exactly what I wanted to hear!
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mcgrueser
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been harvesting rhubarb from a couple of plants i have but i actually need to move it now, unfortunately. I presume it's not a good time to move it but if i want to keep it it needs to be moved now. Will i ruin it moving it this time of year? And then when i move it do i need to leave it next year and not harvest any to leave it establish itself, even though it is a strong plant now?
Thanks
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mcgrueser
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for pestering everyone about this but i'm just wondering will i kill the rhubarb if i move it now, at this time of year?
James or Michael or someone in the know, i'd love a quick reply on it.
Thanks again
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SorchaBC
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I think you've answered your own question in the fact that if it's to be kept it needs to be moved now!
If I were you I'd move it as quickly as possible, into it's new home straight away, and then not harvest off it next year, or maybe even the next two years. You'll know yourself from the look of it after the year if it's healthy enough for harvesting in the second year.
That's just my opinion though. Hope it works out for ya Smile
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are huge commercial rhubarb growers up the eastern side of England and, per a TV programme, I saw that they actually dig up the whole root before cropping starts, put it in a darkened shed and harvest it from there. Their roots are so well advanced that they weigh nearly a ton.

Secondly, I had to move a couple of last year's plants that we deliberately didin't harvest and they've produced heavily this year in their new home.

From this I think we can deduce that the roots absorb all their nutrients in autumn and winter. Inevitably at the end of each season there are stalks/leaves that haven't been suitable for eating and, as they wilt, their goodness drains back into the root. I always heap manure and anything else nutircious I can find round the tops and leave it to do its own thing. In their first year this 'draining back' process is obviously extra vital.

All in all I can't see you doing any harm at all by moving them but replanting ASAP is naturally sound advice.

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A novice gardener on newly cultivated, stoney ground.
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mcgrueser
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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brilliant stuff Blowin and Sorcha. That's exactly what i wanted to hear. I'll definitely be getting it back into the ground asap and leaving the plant next year without picking from it.
Thanks a million

....Though i don't like the sounds of the roots weighing a ton?? Not looking forward to lifting it as much now!!!
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