The scientific name for celery is “Apium Graveolens” and it is from the Apiaceae family. Celery is related to carrots, fennel, parsley, parsnips, and hemlock. This plant has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for a long time. Archeological digs have found celery seed in Switzerland and China. Different cultures have used the plant forhangovers, as an aphrodisiac, or other purposes, but there is no evidence to support any of these claims. Celery leaves were used by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to weave crowns for victorious athletes. The plant wasn’t grown for food until the 1600s in France.
If you want to learn how to grow this vegetable, which is ancient, keep reading!
All About Celery
What are the three main types of celery? They are self blanching or yellow celery, green or Pascal celery, and celeriac. Pascal celery, or green stalk celery, is the most popular type of celery in the United States.
The celery variety known as Tall Utah is especially popular because it produces crisp, stringless greens, and is able to thrive in many different climates. The Conquistador variety matures early and can tolerate hot and humid conditions, as well as poorer quality soils.
There are three types of celery you can try that are each a different color. Redventure has red stalks, Chinese pink celery has light pink stalks, and Pink Plume Celery has dark purple stalks.
Before planting, soak seeds overnight to encourage germination. To make your own seed starting mix, fill a container with equal parts compost and sand. To plant seeds using a flat, space them one inch apart in rows. Cover with a half-inch layer of sand. Cover the seed pots with sphagnum moss or burlap until the seeds sprout. Seedlings can be transplanted to the main garden once they reach a height of 3-4 inches, but it is preferable to wait until they are closer to 6 inches tall. Make sure to gradually acclimate your plants to the outdoors over the course of ten days before planting them outside permanently.
It is important to remember that celery is not a crop that thrives in cold temperatures. Plant celery 8-12 weeks before the first frost in temperate areas to ensure it has a full growing season. In warmer climates, it is best to plant the crop in the fall and then transplant it outdoors when the temperatures are consistently below 75 degrees and around 50 degrees at night. To prevent the leaves and/or stalk of celery from turning dark and becoming bitter, the plant will require “blanching,” or the act of placing a piece of material around the edible part.
Sprinkle celery seeds on the surface of a pot filled with potting soil designed for seedlings. Celery seeds will not germinate if they are covered in soil. To keep the celery seeds moist, mist the surface of the soil to keep it damp. Adding a humidity dome will also help to keep the moisture contained. Be patient! Celery can take anywhere from one to four weeks to germinate.
You should dig trenches that are about one foot deep to plant celery in if it is trenched. You can plant celery at ground level if you are blanching it. You can also bury stalks by mound up soil around the plant. To grow celery successfully, you need to keep the soil moist at all times.
Celery requires a great deal of food and water. The plant needs a lot of water to make sure the nutrients in the soil are available to it. Still, celery requires very good soil drainage as well. If you’re growing celery in a raised bed or container, you’ll need to water it more often. Good drainage is even more important in this case.
One way to improve drainage in an area of a garden that struggles with stagnation is to create raised beds. One potential issue you may encounter with container gardening is drainage. This can be easily remedied by ensuring that all of your containers have large holes drilled at the bottom. If you grow celery in a container, use a glazed pot to prevent the pot from absorbing water from the plant. Celery needs damp soil to grow.
Once you get it started, celery is not difficult to grow. Let’s discuss how to ensure your celery plant thrives after you’ve planted it.
Sun and Temperature
Celery likes moderate temperatures. Seedlings should not be in direct sunlight, the temperature should be 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and no colder than 60 degrees at night. If you start the seedlings in a flat, you will need to move them to individual pots when they reach two inches tall. When you are transplanting, the ideal outdoor temperature should be between 50-55 degrees (Fahrenheit). Celery can go to flower prematurely if exposed to cold conditions. To avoid this, do not move celery outdoors during unusually cold spells, or before the soil has reached at least 55 degrees.
Celery should not be exposed to the hottest part of the day. You may need to protect your plants from the cold weather by covering it with a row cover or cold frame.
Water and Humidity
Celery should be watered as early as possible in the morning to prevent any water from evaporating. Celery roots cannot dry up, or the plant will become fibrous and bitter, and it could die. You should water your celery around 1-2 inches per week, as it requires a lot of water. When planted within containers, celery’s watering needs an increase. To avoid rot and other diseases, it is critical that plants have excellent drainage. The goal is to keep the soil consistently moist.
Another way to keep the soil cool and moist is to mulch deeply.
Apply a balanced fertilizer, like a 5-10-10, every 10-14 days to celery plants. Add compost and organic matter again every fourteen days to maintain rich soil.
Celery takes a long time to grow, so you can give it quick nutrition boosts with liquid seaweed or worm tea, or you can use a slow-release feeder for a more prolonged feeding. Choose organic fertilizer when possible.
Celery is usually propagated from seeds, as described in the planting section. You can grow celery from store-bought stalks. To grow your own celery, you’ll need to start with celery plants that have roots attached. These can usually be found for purchase at your local store.
Cut the celery stalks two to three inches above the base of the plant. Cut the stalks off the base of the plant, then place the base in a shallow dish of water with the cut side up. Celery can’t grow from single stalks. You should change the water every other day to keep it fresh. When the roots and leaves have sprouted, transplant the celery plant into moist and fertile soil.
Celery can be easily and quickly propagated from its base.
Harvesting and Storing
Now, let’s talk about how to harvest celery. You will need to use or preserve celery once it is done growing.
Celery is ready to be harvested when the stalks are at least 8 inches tall. To cut celery stalks individually, use a knife to cut at the base where the stalks join together. This process is referred to as “cut and come again” because celery will regrow from the base, similar to how you would regrow celery from the store.
You can pick the individual outer stalks as you need them. You can cut the celery head at the base with a sharp blade when it’s mature. You can cover the celery with straw to keep it from freezing in the fall.
For milder, sweeter tasting celery, harvest the stalks before they darken or cover the plant to prevent it from getting darker in the sunlight.
To keep celery fresh in the refrigerator, wrap the stalks in a moist paper towel and store them in an airtight container. Proper storage of celery should allow it to last for two to four weeks in the fridge.
Celery can be preserved for longer storage by freezing it. First, you should cook it in boiling water for one minute. After blanching the food, drop it into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. After boiling the egg, take it out of the water and let it dry. Store it in a freezer bag that can go in the freezer. This makes a great soup and stock base.