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How to plant and harvest rhubarb

Rhubarb growing is easy
Rhubarb growing is easy

Here are our top tips for our community of Dunoon Goes POP rhubarb growers. 



1.  Prepare the ground 

Add fresh compost to your pot or planting hole. 


2.  Plant the rhubarb 

Take your rhubarb crown and plant it in its new large pot or space. 


3.  Water it in 

Give your rhubarb a good drink to settle it into its new home. 



From Brian Grout, Cowal-based rhubarb expert 

“Plant in a position that drains water freely because rhubarb dislikes being waterlogged.” 



1.  Water, but not too much 

Keep the rhubarb roots moist, especially during dry spells, but it doesn’t like sitting in water. 


2.  Feed the plant 

Add a fresh layer of compost or well-rotted manure and seaweed each year. 


3.  Don’t cover the tips 

Be careful not to bury the growing tips and top of your rhubarb with compost, as they will rot. 



From Martin Gerrish of Grow Food, Grow Dunoon 

“Annually, in the spring, add a good layer of fresh compost around the rhubarb.”



Once your new rhubarb plant has had a year to settle into its new home, you can start to harvest the stalks. Here are three tips when harvesting your rhubarb stalks. 


1. Pull the stalks 

To harvest a stalk, pull it off by getting a grip close to the base of the stalk. Don’t cut them! 


2. Remove flowering stalks 

To keep your plant producing fresh edible stalks, remove the flowering stalks as soon as they appear. 


3. Freeze it 

Chop and freeze what you don’t need, so you can store it for cooking at a later date.



From Lynne Maclagan, local gardener and POP shop community manager.


“To keep your rhubarb producing fresh stems, harvest stalks regularly through the summer.”

Don't eat the leaves, it's just the cooked stems that are edible.

More growing tips 


Read more about growing rhubarb on the RHS website.

Watch this helpful video from Ben at GrowVeg on YouTube


Why rhubarb? 

Robert Bryden. The inspiration for Dunoon Goes POP at the Burgh Hall
Robert Bryden. The inspiration for Dunoon Goes POP at the Burgh Hall

Why are we encouraging more people to grow rhubarb in Dunoon? 


We thought that mixing heritage stories, rhubarb growing and pop-making would be the perfect recipe for Dunoon Goes POP to celebrate 150 years of Dunoon Burgh Hall. 


We’re making 150 bottles of a rhubarb-flavoured commemorative pop, a drink that celebrates the Hall’s architect Robert Bryden. And we're encouraging people to grow rhubarb and learn about Dunoon's pop-making heritage.



This project is made possible with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and thanks to National Lottery players. Thanks also to Dunoon Burgh Hall, Dunoon Community Development Trust and Grow Food, Grow Dunoon for supporting the project. 

A community effort


Ronnie at the Top Shop here in Dunoon is one of our community rhubarb growers
Ronnie at the Top Shop here in Dunoon is one of our community rhubarb growers

Our community rhubarb growers include The Top Shop, Dunoon Burgh Hall, Clyde Cottage Nursery, Patchwork Nursery, Dunoon Primary School, Kirn Primary School, Dunoon Foodbank, Ardnahein Care Home and around 10 or so home growers from different areas of our town. We’re also growing rhubarb in our new Dunoon Goes POP garden. 


Thanks to Martin Gerrish from Grow Food, Grow Dunoon who grew a batch of our new rhubarb plants from seed. Thanks also to Abigail and George for letting us divide their large rhubarb patch into new plants!


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