Can I harvest rhubarb in summer?

Question: 

Can I harvest rhubarb in summer?

Answer: 

If the rhubarb plants are vigorous, pulling a few stalks and preparing a dish for a special occasion in summer shouldn’t be a problem.  Harvesting rhubarb in summer should be a one time event, not a frequent practice.  Continued harvest through the summer months weakens the rhubarb plants and reduces the yield and quality of next year’s crop.  In general, it’s best to stop harvesting rhubarb in mid-June in Iowa. 

There is an erroneous belief that rhubarb stalks are poisonous in summer.  The stalks will likely be a little tougher than those harvested in spring, but they are not poisonous.  Plant vigor is the reason that rhubarb should not be harvested in summer. 

 

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