Monday, September 5, 2011

Rhubarb Season Coming to an End

It's time to begin thinking of pulling the last of your rhubarb and readying the plant for winter.    There seems to be a debate whether to let the leaves die out and protect the plant or whether this invites pests.  See Rhubarb Pests.  I have heard both.  I do notice that I had a few blotches on one section of some rhubarb plants that were planted in a particular area which was surrounded by grass.  I think I will go ahead and cut the leaves back (although there is the debate that this opens the stalk up to diseases), however I think that is more likely in the summer when the pests are out.  Then I will cover the plants with at least 2" of soil.  It is time to "disturb" my older plants and begin splitting them up and transplanting them next spring in my new rows of rhubarb cultivation.  Remember, if your stalks become soft and mush, DO NOT EAT THEM.  At this point, the stalk is poisonous. It is the oxalic acid that is harmful.  This is always in the rhubarb leaves so the rhubarb leaves must never be eaten or fed to animals.  It is okay to compost them, however. 

Ruby Peck-Hollembaek
Delta Junction, Alaska
Alaska, where rhubarb is our apple!

No comments: