May 19, 2011

The Rhubarb Twist

I spent last weekend visiting with my 86-year-old Grandma and learned some new things about her:
  • She has an iPad and is a pro at using it. She is googling things, checking the weather, and of course reading my blog.
  • She has a Facebook account.
  • She makes a mean rhubarb pie:

While visiting, I followed my Grandma out to the garden where she showed me the "Rhubarb Twist". (I hope you are picturing my Grandma and I dancing in the garden, it's similar to the tomato shuffle.)

When harvesting rhubarb, you want to sharply twist off the stalk to avoid pulling on the roots. You can cut them off but you have to be very careful not to damage any other parts of the plant. Doing the twist is much more fun.

Some things to know about Rhubarb:

  • Rhubarb is a cool weather plant, perfect for the Pacific Northwest!
  • Don't try to grow them from seed unless you are a pro-gardener. It is much easier to buy starts.
  • Rhubarb gets quite large, allow approximately 3 feet of room around your start for it to grow.
  • You can grow rhubarb in a container. It may take a little longer to achieve your first harvest, but it works! 
  • Make sure there is adequate drainage for your rhubarb.
  • Do not harvest the first year you plant it. You want to give the plant time to establish itself. 
  • Once your plant is established, you can start harvesting in early spring and continue harvest for several months. After the weather warms up, your rhubarb will lose its flavor. 
  • Once the stalk is 10 inch long, you can harvest. Also it does not necessarily need to be red!
  • Do not harvest more than half of the plants stalks.
  • Don't eat the leaves. They are poisonous!
  • A rhubarb plant can last for 10 years! It is perennial and will come back year after year 
And last but not least,  rhubarb pie is to die for:

Sorry, she didn't share her secret recipe. 
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