How and When to Harvest Rhubarb

Rhubarb plant sprouting in spring garden. (BAKLYKOV/Getty Images)

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable grown for its wonderful, tart leafstalks. The key to growing rhubarb is to get a good harvest without damaging the plant for next year.

Here are some tips for harvesting rhubarb:

  • Harvest in Spring: Rhubarb is primarily harvested in spring and early summer (just in time for strawberry-rhubarb pie!). The stalks are crisp and tastier early in the season; as summer progresses rhubarb stalks can get woody and tough.
  • Pace Yourself: Never remove more than half the rhubarb plant each year. To keep the plant strong, it’s generally best to harvest just a few stalks at a time, as you need them, rather than doing a large harvest. Harvest the larger rhubarb stalks (a foot long or so), and leave the smaller ones to grow.
  • Stop in Summer: Stop harvesting by June, to give your rhubarb a rest. The plants need some time to grow and build up reserves and roots, to ensure a good harvest next year.
  • Start Slow: If you’ve just planted rhubarb, you shouldn’t harvest any this year. Next year, you can harvest for a week or two, and by year three you can have a normal 8-10 week harvest season.
  • Pull Stalks: The best way to harvest rhubarb is to grab the stalk and pull or twist it simultaneously down and sideways, until it snaps off. If you prefer to cut yours with a knife, be extremely careful not to nick the adjoining stalks. Promptly remove and compost the leaves – they contain poisonous oxalic acid and shouldn’t be eaten.

Further Reading


  1. On Ryan and Chloe’s Bathroom Makeover , what was the make and model of paint sprayer that you used ?

    Thank you. Marv

    • Hi, Marv,

      We used Homeright’s Finish Max HVLP sprayer for Ryan and Chloe’s cabinets. “Today’s Homeowner” co-host Chelsea says she enjoys it very much.

  2. In Ryan and Chloe’s bathroom you used a paint sprayer that you recommend for cabinets because it is low flow and good for interior use. Can you please give me the brand name and model? Thank you!

    • Hi Karen! Thanks for watching! I used Homeright’s Finish Max HVLP sprayer for their cabinets. I love it! ~Chelsea

  3. what is the brand of the new paint sprayer that Chelsea used in Ryan and Chloe bathroom reno? How is it compared to other paint sprayers? Thanks

    • Hi Roger! I used a Finish Max from Homeright. I found it worked exceptionally! The trick, though, with any paint sprayer is that you clean it out VERY well. Every. Time. ~Chelsea

  4. Hi, in this segment a tip was given on refinishing a dining room table. They updated it by putting a “trenched” design in the middle of the table. I had to leave the room and missed how this was done. Was it done with a router? Is there anywhere I can view this clip?

  5. Hi – What a beautiful bathroom! I also purchased Armstrong Vivero Best for our entire home. Concrete floors (after we take up the carpet & tile). Did you use glue down or Inter-lock? What type adhesive and di you need to put an underlayment on first? Thanks in advance!


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