Springtime Rhodiola rosea Harvest – Part One
ARRGO Member Farmers are creative and inventive when it comes to growing and harvesting Rhodiola rosea. They use forks and spades, or pull furrow blades behind a tractor. They use potato diggers and sometimes even potato harvesters. Whatever it takes to dig up the entire plant and keep it intact.
Any breaks in the root will cause oxidation. More importantly, a break in the skin or husk of the root could be an avenue for contamination.
The Rhodiola needs to grow for at least five years in the cold Canadian Prairies before it is mature enough for harvest. In five years’ time, the soil will settle and compact, and the weeds will grow a great network of roots to create major resistance to being turned over. On top of that, many growers will plant their Rhodiola in plastic mulch to help with weed control. So at harvest time, the dirt, the rocks, the plastic, the weeds, and the Rhodiola are lifted and shaken up, usually with major effort and some horsepower.
Enjoy our video of harvesting cultivated Rhodiola rosea in the springtime in Alberta. Craig Park and his crew use a 60-inch potato digger to do the uprooting. The blade at the front of the digger pushes into the soil, and plants, weeds, rocks and dirt are moved onto the rotating chain belt and table. The digger is held at an angle to make the plants bounce and roll and shake off some of the soil and weeds. Watch the video as the rhodiola in its springtime splendor makes it way up and over the top of the table to fall in jumbled piles. The hard work comes next, but we’ll save that for a future video.