Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Grow Celery

Name: Celery

*You can grow celery in any climate if you time it right. Some varieties take a long time to grow (up to 4 months), so read your specific seed package closely for that information.

*All celery plants dislike hot summers. Sow it in the fall in hot areas or in early spring in cold climates.

*Celery prefers a mucky soil or a high water table. It’s natural environment is marshes. However, you can still grow it in average soil with treatments.

*It is a heavy feeder that needs a very rich soil. It would help if you till lots and lots of well-rotted manure, compost, and/or peat moss into the soil before planting. The best pH is 6.0-7.5. 

*You should also make sure that the soil has enough calcium in it to avoid the disease ‘black heart’. Adding lime to boost the pH will also take care of the plant’s calcium needs.

*It will tolerate partial shade, so you have many options for where to grow this plant.

*You do not need a lot of space for a celery crop. An 8-foot row will give you about ten bunches of celery.

*It is easier to buy seedlings than grow celery from seed. The seeds are tiny and take two weeks to germinate while needing plenty of light, warmth, and moisture.

*If you do try from seed, for a spring crop, start the seeds indoors about 10 weeks before the last frost date. Sow the seeds in a light potting medium and just press the seeds lightly into the surface. Keep them perfectly moist and around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Transplant outdoors around the time of the last average frost, but only if the weather and soil have started to warm up. Do not set outside in the cold to harden off before this. The plants should be about 5-6 inches tall when transplanted and spaced about 10 inches apart. Set the crowns a bit below the soil level and even if the soil is already fertile, give each seedling a cupful of liquid fertilizer at the planting time (such as fish emulsion). Give the new plants a dose of liquid fertilizer every few weeks to keep them growing vigorously. Mulching will help protect them from chilling and help maintain moisture.

*If you try from seed for a later crop, start the seeds indoors in May or June and follow the above instructions.

*Water them well, especially in a drought.

*Keep the bed weeded because celery will not tolerate competition.

*Good seeds, good soil, and steady watering will keep away most diseases.

*Pick outside stalks as you need them, or harvest the whole plant, cutting it off at the base when it looks like a proper, mature bunch of celery.

*You can often prolong your harvest past the first frosts in fall by mulching heavily with straw.

*Celery can be stored for several weeks, sometimes even several months, in a cool cellar.

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful post as we just planted celery for the first time, this year. Currently have some outside under small hoop house covering and a few in the greenhouse.
    I read your blog and follow it on facebook. Very informative. Thank you.
    I have recently started a blog about homesteading at:
    I hope you can take a break and check it out.
    Brenda at Southern Urban Homesteader