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High Altitude Rhubarb--Organic Farm & Nursery

Pick-Your-Own, 100% Organic Rhubarb Since 2008
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Phases of Growth
These pictures capture the appearance of healthy rhubarb plants during the various phases of growth.  These plants spend the winter in frozen ground under
 a blanket of 1"-2" of compost and, often, snow.  
The count begins when the compost blanket is pulled back to form a water ring around the soon to emerge mature plant.
 
 
One Week after removing the compost blanket.  The blanket is pulled back to form a water ring 3" high around the plant.
  Watering is limited to occasionally filling the ring with water.
 
 
 
 
10 days after removing compost blanket.
 
 
 
 
Two Weeks after removing compost blanket.
 
 
 
 
Three Weeks after removing compost blanket
 
 
 
 
Three Weeks, another angle
 
 
 
 
Six Weeks:  Full Growth (Ready For Harvest)  Four year old plants grew to 3 feet tall,
 6 feet in diameter with stalks 2 feet in length, 1-2 inches in diameter.
 
 
 
 Seven year old plants grew to 50" tall, 8' across and produced 80 pounds of quality rhubarb each.
 
 
 
Full Growth Seed Stalks (normally not allowed to happen...pulling the seed stalks as they start up
 will allow more energy for edible stalk production)
 
 
 
 
Root mass of a three-year-old plant, bottom and side views.  Roots were 12" deep into rich soil and heading sideways from the 12" level to parts unknown.
 
 
bottom view
 
 

 
side view
 
 
 

 
Fall Colors come early to rhubarb in Colorado.  The plants prepare for dormancy as early as July/August.  This shot was in July, about 4 months after new growth began.  Hail and hot weather discourage future growth/harvest..yes, hail.  We normally get our worst hail storms during the heat of summer.  The damage you see to the green leaves and stalks is due to hail on July 3.
 

End of season:  Leaves and stalks have died, plants have stored nutrients for the winter.  Next step is to remove the dead plant material and cover with 1-2 inches of mature compost.  The compost serves as the only active fertilization of the plants all year.  In the spring it is pulled back, just before the plants begin to awake for the next season.  We form a water ring serving to both conserve water and define the limits of growth for the new season.  This photo is of the dead growth, Mid-November in our area.
 

End of season:  Plants asleep under 1-3 inches of mature compost, the "compost blanket."