When can I start harvesting my newly planted rhubarb? Not you. If the damage is on the leaves - and it looks like large, ragged holes in the leaves, and you do not see a likely culprit when you check the rhubarb during the day, it could be slugs. Damaged stalks become soft and mushy. Scroll down for a recipe to make a homemade natural insecticide using your rhubarb leaves, and a link to many more recipes for natural and organic pesticides and insecticides. (Cue the sinister laughter.) Rhubarb Leaf Pesticide. The use of a natural pesticide made from rhubarb leaves is frequently promoted. They also leave a slime trail as the move across plants. Q. Rhubarb taste is similar to that of green apple and sometimes more sugar is added to it to make them even sweeter. Rhubarb is an excellent source of many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. Boil the leaves in some water for 20 minutes, cool, add a few drops of dish detergent and you have a spray that will kill all kinds of bugs and fungal diseases. Any new growth, which emerges later in spring, should be safe to eat. Damaged rhubarb stalks should be pulled and discarded. A. Leaves of the Rhubarb Plant. Slugs typically feed at night and hide from the heat of the day by returning to the soil / leaf litter below the plants. Oxalic acid is a poisonous, colorless substance commonly used in products such as metal polishes, stain removers, bleaches, and anti-rust products. I think you should definitely keep them away from the rhubarb leaves in the future! Often a small dose of something toxic may have no effect, or make them mildly ill, but a continued intake of toxins will definitely screw up their systems. Rhubarb plants showing no sign of damage are fine and can be harvested. The leaf stalks of the rhubarb are used as a dessert or as an ingredient in sweet dishes. We’re hoping the insects will get it on them, munch on the leaves a bit, and die. Well, rhubarb leaves, which you are not supposed to include in baking or cooking, contain oxalic acid, which causes kidney stones. That’s the part you’re taking advantage of here. The toxins build up and cause damage to internal organs. I wouldn’t spray this on vegetables just before harvest. that provides a number of health and beauty benefits. Rhubarb’s killer reputation apparently dates to World War I, when rhubarb leaves were recommended on the home front as an alternative food. Cold damaged rhubarb leaves will shrivel and turn black. I mean, I doubt it would kill you, but you’re not supposed to eat rhubarb leaves because they are poisonous. 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