Cool-Season Crop with Tough Demands
Subspecies: Apium graveolens var. dulce
Growing celery is difficult on a small scale or in the home garden, as far as vegetables grow. Celery requires time and care to grow and is not a good choice for a low maintenance garden, but if you are determined you can do it.
Celery is generally grown for the stalks and is sold without leaves sometimes, but the leaves are actually can be used an herb for flavoring soups and roasted meats.
In some areas celery is grown not for the stalks, but for the seeds. Seeds are harvested and used as a seasoning in a variety of soups and baked dishes. Seeds labeled as seasonings or spices, should not be used for growing celery. New seed must be purchased for growing celery plants.
Read on for our full guide on how grow celery in your garden.
Celery seed needs to be soaked for 24 – 30 hours before planting. After soaking broadcast the seeds in a shallow box of rich soil. Cover lightly with a layer of soil and keep in a warm room. The seeds should germinate in 10 – 14 days.
Carefully move the seedlings to a bed of well fertilized soil. Celery has a very shallow root system and it is important that the soil has been worked and watered before planting.
If transplanting in stages from seed, to young seedling, to bigger, more sturdy seedling before planting outdoors make sure the transplants are placed at a depth that the just the top of the heart is exposed.
Some plants should be allowed to grow in this fashion for early harvest. Plants that will be harvested later should have soil hilled around the stalks as they grow. This will protect and stabilize the plants.
Some people develop a rash from contact with celery leaves. It is a good idea for anyone working with celery in the field or garden, to wear gloves and long sleeves.
Conquistador is a celery known for it’s rich taste. It produces multiple stalks which are crisp and upright. Conquistador is a good variety for growing in hot climates where rainfall is not consistent.
For early harvests White Plume and Golden Self-blanching are good varieties.
Tall Utah is a dark green celery with a nice aroma and strong flavor. It is a late growing variety and should be planted in the late summer for a fall harvest. It will tolerate light frost and even light snowfall.
A direct and steady spray of water will displace aphids from the plants. This should be done before the sun is directly overhead so plants will not be scorched.
Cardboard collars sunk into the ground around plants and light row covers should be used to prevent cutworms and Cabbage loopers.
Celery will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks if stored in a plastic bag or air tight container. It can also be chopped, and frozen on a tray and then placed in bags. Celery should be frozen in small portions because thawing and refreezing damages the quality.