Gardeners Worlds Monty Don shares warning over harvesting rhubarb Dont do it

Gardening: Monty Don advises on how to harvest rhubarb

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Monty Don kicked off Friday’s edition of Gardeners’ World by harvesting some rhubarb with his trusty canine companion by his side. The BBC horticulturist advised fans on the dos and don’ts when cultivating the seasonal fruit as he warned gardeners not to cut the plant when harvesting. 

Monty began: “Rhubarb is one of those seasonal fruits that I absolutely love.

“But when you’re harvesting it, don’t cut, you pull it and you feel it come away with a little bit of the base attached to it that can be cleaned off before you eat it.

“From the base you should get new shoots if you cut it there is a risk of die-back and a bit of disease getting in.”

He continued: “These can be harvested regularly throughout spring and early summer but stop once you get to July. 

Read more: Monty Don responds to backlash over his comments on Gardeners’ World

“Let the plant grow, let the leaves get really big and all that goodness that they take through photosynthesis will feed back into the roots and ensure a good harvest the following year. 

“And if you want to lift it and divide it the time to do that is when it’s dormant, ideally in the new year.

“Make sure that it’s mulched well, it has a good feed this is a hungry plant and it will go on giving for years to come.”

Later in the programme, Monty continued tending to seasonal jobs at Longmeadow. 

In his greenhouse, Monty said: “This was full of winter salads but they’re now over and we’re going to seed and it’ll be another three months or so before I plant out my tomatoes. 

“So I want to use this slot to grow some early salad leaves that will grow fast for example rocket, this grows best in spring and again in Autumn.

“What we try and do is plant some indoors and some outdoors and the indoor crop will grow much faster.

“And I grow them in plugs and you can see the roots, which means that it’s ready for planting, and if the roots are wrapped around the plug, then that’s no good that’s too late, usually about a two week window when these are perfect to plant.”

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“If you are planting outside having grown these or you can buy plants in plugs from garden centres, give them a bit of protection,” Monty warned. 

“You can see that I’ve spaced these quite wide apart because that will encourage a better root system and if you have a good root system you’ll get more leaves and you will have healthier plants.

“I’ll water these well and keep them well watered rocket responds well to lots of water.

“And the key to making the most of your ground it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a big greenhouse or just one container or patch outside is to plan ahead.”

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“When you’re planting one thing, sow another and then there’ll be succession and that way you will have maximum harvest,” Monty concluded. 

Elsewhere on Friday’s show, Nick Bailey visited Bodnant Garden in north Wales.

The presenter explored how the team are tackling the recent storm damage and the new planting opportunities this created. 

Meanwhile Frances Tophill met with a couple who have transformed their long, narrow garden in Somerset.

Gardeners’ World continues on BBC Two on Friday at 8pm.

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