Tips On How To Grow Celery

Tips On How To Grow Celery

By: Heather Rhoades

Growing celery (Apium graveolens) is generally considered to be the ultimate vegetable gardening challenge. There isn’t much flavor difference between the home grown variety and the store bought variety so most gardeners grow a celery plant purely for the challenge. Read on to find out more about the best way to grow celery in your garden.

Starting Celery Seeds

Because a celery plant has such a long maturity time, unless you live in a location with long growing seasons, you need to start celery seeds indoors at least eight to 10 weeks before the last frost date for your area.

Celery seeds are tiny and tricky to plant. Try mixing them with sand and then sprinkle the sand-seed mix over the potting soil. Cover the seeds with just a little bit of soil. Celery seeds like to be planted shallowly.

Once the celery seeds have sprouted and are large enough, either thin the seedlings or prick them out to their own pots.

Planting Celery in the Garden

Once the temperatures outside are consistently above 50 F. (10 C.), you can plant your celery into your garden. Remember that celery is very temperature sensitive, so don’t plant it out too early or you will kill or weaken the celery plant.

Unless you live in a location that is ideal to grow celery plants, plant your celery where it will get six hours of sun, but preferably somewhere that the celery plant will be shaded for the hottest part of the day.

Also, make sure that where you will be growing celery has rich soil. Celery needs lots of nutrients to grow well.

Grow Celery in Your Garden

A growing celery plant needs a lot of water. Make sure to keep the soil evenly moist and don’t forget to water them. Celery can’t tolerate drought of any kind. If the ground isn’t kept consistently moist, it will negatively affect the taste of the celery.

You’ll also need to fertilize regularly to keep up with the nutrient needs of the celery plant.

Blanching Celery

Many gardeners prefer to blanch their celery to make them more tender, but be aware that when blanching celery, you are reducing the amount of vitamins in the celery plant. Blanching celery turns the green part of the plant white.

Blanching celery is done one of two ways. The first way is to just slowly build a mound around a growing celery plant. Every few days add a little more dirt and at harvest the celery plant will be blanched.

The other method is to cover the lower half of the celery plant with thick brown paper or cardboard a few weeks before you plan to harvest the celery.

Conclusion
Now that you know how to grow celery, you can give it a try in your own garden. We can’t guarantee that you will be able to grow celery successfully, but at least you can say you tried growing celery.

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Stop Buying Celery! Easy Tips How To Grow Your Own Celery

Growing celery (Apium graveolens) is generally considered to be the ultimate vegetable gardening challenge. It has a very long growing season but a very low tolerance for both heat and cold. There isn’t much flavor difference between the homegrown variety and the store-bought variety so most gardeners grow a celery plant purely for the challenge. Read on to find out more about the best way to grow celery in your garden.

Start celery seed indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost in spring. Set transplants in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before the average last frost date when seedlings have 5 to 6 leaves.

In cool spring and summer regions, plant celery in early spring. In warm spring and summer regions, plant celery in late summer for harvest in late autumn or early winter.

PLANTING

Soil Preparation

  • Select a site that receives full direct sunlight.
  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches with a garden fork or tiller. Mix 2 to 4 inches of aged manure and/or compost into the soil. Or, work in some 5-10-10 fertilizer. The soil should retain moisture, bordering on wet but still draining.
  • Celery prefers soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.8. Get a soil test if you’re not sure of your soil pH.

Starting Seeds

  • Due to a long growing season, start celery seed indoors. For a spring crop, start seeds 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost date. (For a fall crop, start seeds in time to transplant seedlings 10 to 12 weeks before the first autumn frost date.)
  • Before planting soak seeds in warm water overnight. This will speed germination.
  • Press soaked seeds into seed-starting soil to get good germination, do not cover with soil.
  • Cover starter trays/pots with plastic wrap to retain moisture. Germination should occur in about a week.
  • Soon after seedlings appear, place a fluorescent grow light 3 inches above them for 16 hours a day (plants need dark, too).
  • Maintain an ambient temperature of 70° to 75°F during the day and 60° to 65°F at night.
  • Mist regularly
  • When seedlings are 2 inches tall, transplant them to individual peat pots or to deeper flats with new potting soil. In flats, set the plants at least 2 inches apart.
  • Harden off seedlings before transplanting by reducing water slightly and putting the outdoors for a couple of hours each day.

Transplants in the Ground

  • Plant celery outdoors when the soil temperature reaches at least 50“F and nighttime temperatures don’t dip down below 40“F. (Cold weather after planting can cause bolting.)
  • Work organic compost into the soil prior to planting. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.) Or mix in fertilizer (about one pound of 5-10-10 per 30 square feet).
  • Plant seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart.
  • Water thoroughly.

  • Celery requires lots of water. Make sure to provide plenty of water during the entire growing season, especially during hot, dry weather. If celery does not get enough water, the stalks will be dry and small.
  • Add plenty of compost and mulch around the plants to retain moisture. Sidedress with a 5-10-10 fertilizer in the second and third month of growth (one tablespoon per plant and sprinkle it in a shallow furrow three to four inches from the plant and cover it with soil).
  • Keep celery weeded but be careful when weeding as celery has shallow roots and could easily get distrubed.
  • Tie growing celery stalks together to keep them from sprawling.

Optional – Plant the Base in a Pot

If you want to have a big celery plant, transfer water-grown celery in the soil. For doing this, take a small pot filled with a potting mix.

  • Cover the drainage holes of the pot with a coffee filter or paper towel, so the soil doesn’t come out.
  • Fill the pot with a potting mix about 2 inches below the edge of the container. Add slow-release fertilizer according to the direction on the label. Moisten the soil with water and place the sprouted celery base on the top of the soil. Add more soil, so it encircles the celery base.
  • Place the container in full to partial sun.
  • Keep the soil moist.


Planting celery in the garden

Once the temperatures outside are consistently above 50°F, you can plant your celery into your garden. Remember that celery is very temperature sensitive, so don’t plant it out too early or you will kill or weaken the celery plant.

Unless you live in a location that is ideal to grow celery plants, you are best planting your celery where it will get six hours of sun, but preferably somewhere that the celery plant will be shaded for the hottest part of the day.

Also, make sure that where you will be growing celery has rich soil. Celery needs lots of nutrients to grow well.


Water = crispness

Celery needs water to grow straight, sweet and tall, Savio said, so keep the soil moist. A rainy winter can provide all the moisture necessary, but if your celery starts tasting “like turpentine” or the stalks get soft and “feel a little wobbly,” those are signs more water is needed. If there’s no rain, Savio waters her well-amended Pasadena garden deeply just once a week in the winter, but her soil holds water well. Your garden might need more frequent watering. You can use the finger test (stick your finger 3 inches into the soil and if it feels dry, water) or buy a three-way soil meter that measures soil moisture for about $10. Once the weather starts getting hot, your celery will start producing seeds and turn bitter, much the way that lettuce bolts in the heat.


In the Kitchen

Low in calories yet high in fiber, celery is a good source of vitamins A, C and K. Chop stalk celery into salads, soups and main dishes to impart flavor and texture. You can do the same with cutting celery by choosing young stalks and cutting them into small pieces. If any garden celery tastes so strong it’s almost bitter (a side effect of strong sun), blanch pieces for a minute or two in boiling water before adding to cooked dishes. Peel celeriac with a sharp knife, and cook the nutty flesh like potatoes. If you’ve never tasted celeriac, you’ll become a devotee after you’ve sampled it braised in butter with a little salt.

If you buy organic celery, immediately cut off the bottom inch of the bunch and plant it to half its depth in a pot of moist soil. By the time you have used the celery you bought, a small new bunch of two or three stalks should appear in the pot. Harvest it when they are about 8 inches tall, because the minimally rooted base won’t be able to support a full-sized plant. Trimmed celery stalks will keep for weeks in the refrigerator if wrapped in aluminum foil.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on Google+.


Watch the video: Gardening Advice episode 1 - How to grow celery and celeriac