Celery can be a difficult plant to grow from seeds and frustrate novice gardeners. With a little knowledge and a little patience, anyone can learn how to grow celery at home!
Native celery often has a much stronger flavor than store-bought celery because commercial growers blanch their celery. This gives the plant a light green color and a mild, sweet taste.
Celery has been grown in the Mediterranean for thousands of years. Due to archaeological excavations, celery seeds have also been found in Switzerland and China. The plant was used as a hangover herb or an aphrodisiac in Egypt, Rome, and China, although there is no evidence that it works. The Greeks, Romans and Egyptians used the leaves of celery to weave crowns for victorious athletes. It was not until the 17th century that it was grown in France for edible purposes.
If you want to learn how to grow these ancient vegetables yourself, read on!
Good products for growing celery:
Brief instructions for care
Learning to grow celery is a process, but you will get incredible results. Source: Raven Seen
|Common Name (s)||celery|
|Scientific name||Apium graveolens|
|Days to harvest||90-140 days, depending on the variety|
|light||Full sun with shade in the afternoon|
|Water:||Often to maintain even moisture levels|
|ground||Rich in high fertility, tolerates moist soils|
|fertilizer||Regularly with a balanced fertilizer like 5-10-10|
|Pests||Aphids, whiteflies, cut worms, cabbage grinders, snails, slugs|
|Diseases||Mosaic viruses, early and late plague, black heart, fusarium yellow, pink rot|
Everything about celery
Apium graveolens is native to the Mediterranean area. It has become a staple food not just in the Mediterranean and East Asia, but around the world.
Celery has a compact root system with tall fibrous stems that taper into leaves. Celery is grown for its stem and leaves, but its cousin, celery, is grown for the onion-like pile that forms under the stems.
There are three different types of celery: self-blanching or yellow celery, green or Pascal celery, and celery. Pascal, or green celery, is the most popular variety of celery in the United States.
One of the most popular varieties of Pascal is Great Utah because it's a crispy, stringless green celery and grows vigorously in many climates. Conquistador is an early ripening variety that tolerates heat and moisture stress as well as less fertile soils.
If you want to try some unique colored celery, give it a try Redventure for hearty red stems, Chinese pink celery for light pink stems and Pink celery spring for dark purple stems.
Celery stalks like this type of Redventure add color to the otherwise green vegetables. Source: Suzie's Farm
Start celery 8-12 weeks before frost in temperate areas to make sure the growing season is full. In warmer climates, it should be planted in the fall and planted outdoors when temperatures are consistently below 75 degrees and around 50 degrees at night.
Celery needs full sun, but benefits from afternoon shade. Plant celery in trenches, garden beds, or self-watering containers.
Start celery seeds on a seed-starting potting soil. Celery seeds need light to germinate, so don't cover the seeds with soil. Keep the celery seeds moist by misting the surface of the soil to keep it moist. You can also add a moisture dome to hold in moisture. Be patient! Celery can germinate as quickly as a week, but it can also take up to four weeks for it to grow.
If you are growing trenched celery, you should dig trenches about three feet deep to plant them. When you blanch your celery, you can plant celery close to the ground. You can also cover stems with soil by piling them around the plant. Make sure the soil is evenly moist so the celery can thrive.
Celery isn't difficult to grow once you get started with it. Now let's talk about how we can keep your celery plant going after planting!
Sun and temperature
Celery is a cool season crop that should be grown in 6 hours of full sun with afternoon shade. Most types of celery can be grown from Zone 2 to Zone 10.
Celery likes moderate temperatures. It needs weather of at least 50 degrees and not less than 40 degrees. When temperatures drop below 40 degrees or rise above 75 degrees, your celery will start to sprout. Anything below 30 degrees will kill your celery.
Make sure to harden your plant before transplanting it into the garden by exposing it to more direct sunlight each day. Place the plants outside two weeks before your last frost. Try to choose a variety that will grow well in your climate to avoid problems with temperature changes.
Celery should always be protected from the hottest part of the day. In cold weather, you may also need to cover it with a row cover or a cold frame to protect it.
Water and moisture
Celery should be watered early in the morning to avoid unnecessary evaporation. Celery has shallow fibrous roots that cannot dry out or the plant will become fibrous and bitter and may die. Try pouring your celery about 1 to 2 inches of water a week. This can be done with a drinking hose, drip irrigation, or even a tonolla. The aim is to keep the soil evenly moist.
You can also mulch deeply to keep the soil cool and moist between waterings.
Celery needs fertile soil to grow well. Start by changing potting soil with compost or a balanced fertilizer. The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 7.0. Add plenty of compost and organic matter as your celery grows for rich soil.
Garden celery should not be planted in a well-drained container. In fact, celery tolerates poor drainage and even likes moist soil. Grow celery in a self-watering container so you can fill the water container and spend less time watering!
Fertilize celery every 10-14 days with a balanced fertilizer like 5-10-10. Add compost and organics again every two weeks for rich soil.
Since celery has a long growing season, you can use liquid fertilizers like liquid seaweed or worm tea for quick nutrients, or you can use a slow-release feeder that will feed your celery for an extended period of time. If possible, choose organic fertilizers.
You don't have to prune your celery. If you plan to blanch celery, you can loosely tie the stems together to reduce the light reaching the central stems, which will make the celery plant taste sweeter and milder.
Celery seedlings are leafless and without a stem when first put into use. Source: AmberStrocel
The primary method of propagation for celery is from seeds, as described in the planting section above. But you can also try growing celery from store-bought stems! You will need the plant's roots, which are usually found in store-bought celery plants.
Cut the celery stalks between 2 inches and 3 inches above the base of the plant. Then take the base and place it in a shallow bowl of water with the area where you will cut the stems facing up. Celery cannot grow from individual stems. Make sure you change the water every other day to keep it fresh.
After about a week, tiny green leaves will form in the center of the celery plant. When the roots and leaves sprout, transplant the celery plant in moist and fertile soil so it can continue to grow on its own.
Propagating celery from its base is a great way to make celery grow quickly and easily!
Harvesting and storing
Now let's talk about how to harvest celery. Once you are done growing celery you will either need to use it or keep it for later.
Celery is ready to harvest when the stems are at least 8 inches tall. You can cut individual stalks of celery with a knife at the base where the stems connect. This is known as "cut and come back" as the celery will sprout and grow back from the base, just like if you grow back celery from the store.
You can also harvest individual stems from the plant as it grows. By harvesting individual stems, you can allow the plant to produce for a longer season and you will shift your harvest to just a few stems at a time, rather than a whole pile.
When the celery stalks get darker, they are richer in nutrients, but also harder and more stringy. If you want milder and sweeter tasting celery, harvest the stems before they darken or cover them to prevent the plant from darkening in sunlight. This is called blanching and it creates lighter colored celery, similar to what you would find in the local grocery store.
To keep the celery fresh in the refrigerator, wrap the stalks in a damp paper towel and seal them in plastic bags. If properly stored, celery should be kept in the refrigerator for two to four weeks.
For longer storage, you can preserve celery by freezing it. First, you should blanch it by boiling it in boiling water for a minute. After blanching, drop into an ice water bath to stop cooking. Take it out of the water and let it dry before storing it in a freezer-safe bag and placing it in the freezer. This makes a good soup and broth base.
Celery can also be dehydrated or freeze-dried for long-term storage.
Hidden under their leaves, the stems grow in a series of concentric circles. Source: salerie
Now let's talk about some common problems that can arise when growing celery.
One of the most common problems with growing celery is it thin stems. The celery plant consists mainly of water. So if your celery has thin stalks, this can be a watering problem. Make sure that the soil moisture remains constant so that your plant is not thirsty. Otherwise, the stems may not develop fully.
Celery will bitter and hard in sunlight. Most commercial growers prevent this by blanching celery by covering the stems with soil, paper, cardboard, or some other material. Blanching celery will keep the stems from becoming bitter.
Celery is prone to premature screwingThis is caused by fluctuating temperatures that are either too warm or too cold. Be sure to protect your celery with a bell, cooling frame, or floating row covers if frost is expected, and plant according to your last frost date.
Black Heart is caused by calcium deficiency and is similar to blossom end rot in tomatoes. As the plant grows, the young stems and leaves in the heart of the plant turn black. This is a physiological effect due to the lack of calcium and can be caused by various causes: irregular watering, over-fertilization (especially with nitrogen or potassium) and high salinity of the soil can be to blame.
To prevent a black heart from forming, make sure your celery has constant moisture and doesn't have large swings from wet to dry. Make sure you are not adding too much fertilizer to your plant. If symptoms occur, a soaked soil with water-soluble calcium can help. A foliar spray of calcium on the heart of the plant can also be effective.
Aphids can destroy your celery by stunting its growth and removing the juice. They are also vectors for many common celery diseases, such as the celery mosaic virus. You can control aphids by blasting them from plants with a hose. If that doesn't work, you may need to use neem oil or an organic insecticide.
Whiteflies (Trialeurodesaporariorum) collects under plant leaves and feeds on their juices. This can kill your plant over time. You can blast the whiteflies off with a hose. If that doesn't work, try neem oil. Finally, you can use products that contain pyrethrin, which works well against whiteflies and is safe for many plants.
Cutworms are the caterpillar form of various species of moth and feed on the stems and leaves of your celery plant. To combat cutworms, you can search the underside of the leaves at night and use a flashlight if necessary. If hand picking doesn't work, you can add cardboard or foil collars to your celery plants to prevent the cut worms from getting to the base of the celery plant. Bacillus thurigiensis or BT can also be useful against cut worms. Once the celery has ripened a bit, cut worms are far less of a problem.
Snails and Snails are common pests of celery. They will both strip a plant to the stem if they are not marked! The best defense for either of these is removal by hand. You can also create a barrier using ground oyster shell or sawdust. Organic solutions that use iron phosphate to slow down feeding are also good options.
Be careful when using poisons. The widely advertised metaldehyde only kills about 10% of snails, but it also kills the natural and beneficial predators that can help keep the snail population down.
Even though Cabbage grinder prefer Cruciferous vegetables also infect celery, causing large and irregularly shaped holes. Cabbage grinders can be controlled by hand picking, neem oil, or an insecticide like spinosad.
Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV) and Celery Mosaic Virus (CeMV) are the most common celery diseases. Leaves and stems develop yellow spots and growth is stunted. To prevent the problem from spreading, you need to remove any infected plants.
Plague (both early rot from Cercospora and late rot from septoria) develop as small yellow spots on either side of the leaves. The spots get bigger and change color. Most commercial fungicides are effective against disease, including biofungicidal sprays and copper-based fungicides. Neem oil can also have a preventive effect.
Unfortunately, celery is not immune to fusary mushrooms. Fusarium yellow Results when Fusarium oxysporium lingers in the soil. It causes stunted, yellow plants and can cause rot in and around the base and root systems. The best way to control this is to prevent the fusarium from becoming lodged in your soil. Affected plants should be removed and only resistant varieties or plants not affected by Fusarium should be planted in this soil. A mycofungicide can help reduce contamination of the fusarium.
Pink rot caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiotum is another fungal problem for celery. The base of the stems develops brown lesions with pink margins, and over time the entire stalk may turn brown and collapse. Like the Fusarium, it can linger in the ground for a long time. Unlike the Fusarium, this usually occurs in soils that have been oversaturated with water for at least a few weeks or more. Hence, maintaining good irrigation practices is key to prevention. Make sure your soil drains excess water well so the celery doesn't get constantly damp.
frequently asked Questions
The foliage of celery looks bushy, but in it are hidden the stalks that we want. Source: cheese slave
Q: How do you harvest celery to keep it growing?
A: Harvest just a few stems at a time and the plant will produce new growth throughout the season!
Q: Can you eat celery leaves?
A: Yes, they are nutritious and often have a stronger flavor than the stem.
Q: What can not you plant near celery?
A: Don't plant celery near items that are competing for nutrients, such as carrots, corn, or potatoes. Avoid carrots and parsley, as these have similar predators and can cause invasion.
Hello, my name is Rebecca! I grew up with plants that are loving, but they haven't always loved me. My grandparents and great-grandmother always let me help out in their gardens from a young age, but I couldn't figure out the gardening all by myself.
For a year I decided to do some research to find out how to grow peppers on my balcony and it worked! I realized that gardening is a skill to be learned, not an innate talent to be born with.
I am a volunteer master gardener in Florida and am just in my sophomore year flipping my entire lawn yard (front and back) to a mix of native, pollinator, and wildlife friendly spots, a food forest, and raised beds. I raise Coturnix quails and one day I would like to add chickens to my flock.
I love to share my gardening knowledge with others and am always happy to help!
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