Types of Celery
Celery is a member of the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, parsley, and dill. There are three main types of celery: self-blanching or yellow (leaf celery), green or Pascal celery, and celeriac. Leaf celery has thin, yellow-green leaves and a mild flavor. It is often used as a garnish or in salads. Pascal celery is the most common type of celery; it has thick, green stalks and a crispy texture.
Celeriac, also known as celery root, is a root vegetable with a gnarled, brown exterior and white flesh. It has a strong celery flavor and is often used in soups and stews. So, how to grow celery?
How to Grow Celery? Plant Celery Seeds
Celery is a cool weather crop that is usually grown as a summer annual in most gardens. The plants prefer full sun but will tolerate some light shade, especially in hot weather climates. How to grow celery?
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to grow celery from seeds. Fortunately, this is easy to do! Just follow these steps:
- Select a space in your home with access to direct sunlight, like a windowsill. If you don’t have access to sunlight, you can find heat mats, grow lights, and rich starter soil at garden supply centers to ensure the seeds get off to a good start.
- Soak seeds in warm water the night before planting, to speed up the germination process.
- Gently press the seeds into a starter tray filled with soil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap to help retain heat and moisture.
- Once your seedlings have germinated, take off the plastic wrap and place a grow light overhead. For optimal growth, they’ll need 16 hours of daily light.
- It’s time to bring seedlings outside once they reach two inches tall. Prepare them for planting by exposing them to the elements for a few hours each day after they’ve been transplanted into individual peat pots with fresh dirt.
- The seedlings may be put into the ground when the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no risk of frost in your home garden.
- Make sure to sow your celery seedlings at the correct depth: half an inch deep and eight inches apart.
When to Sow Celery Seeds?
Spring is the perfect time to plant most vegetables, but some, like celery, need a little extra time to get started. Start celery about 10-12 weeks before the last expected spring frost date. This gives the plants enough time to mature and produce a good crop of celery. Starting celery seeds indoors is the best way to get a jump on the growing season. Sow the seeds in small pots or trays filled with moist potting soil.
How to Grow Celery – Soil Requirements
So, how to grow celery, and what’s the perfect soil? The perfect soil for growing celery is nutrient-rich soil, with a pH level of between 5.8 and 6.8, that is well-drained but still holds moisture.
If you need to raise the pH level of your soil, you can do so by adding lime to it. To lower the pH level, you can add sulfur or aluminum sulfate. If your soil is too sandy, you can improve its drainage by adding organic matter, such as compost.
How to Grow Celery – Fertilizing
Celery is a heavy feeder, so it’s important to fertilize regularly. How to grow celery and provide it with necessary nutrients? During the growing season, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two weeks. You can also add compost to the soil around your plants. A 5-10-10 fertilizer is a good option.
Celery Needs Plenty of Water
Celery needs to be watered regularly, especially during hot weather. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy. Too much water can cause the roots to rot. To check if your plants need watering, stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry more than an inch below the surface, it’s time to water. Generally speaking, celery should be watered about 1-2 inches of water per week during the growing season.
When to Harvest a Celery Plant?
Now that you know how to grow celery, how to determine if it’s ready to harvest? Look for stalks that are at least 6 inches tall from the base of the stalk to the first leaf. This is usually 85 to 120 days after transplanting. The celery stalks should be firm and crisp, with deep green leaves. Avoid celery that is yellowing or wilting, as this indicates that the plant is past its prime. When harvesting celery, cut the stalks at ground level using a sharp knife. Be sure to leave some of the leaves intact, as they will help to protect the remaining stalks from sun damage.
Homegrown celery can be stored in the fridge, either whole or cut into pieces. To keep celery fresh for longer, wrap the stalks in a damp paper towel or place them in a plastic bag.
How to Blanch Celery?
Blanching is a process of submerging vegetables in boiling water for a brief period of time, then shock them in ice water. This sets the color and texture of the vegetable, so it doesn’t continue to cook when you freeze it. Blanching times vary depending on the vegetable, but most blanching times are between 2-3 minutes.
Should you blanch celery? The answer is: it depends. If you’re planning on eating the celery raw, then blanching is not necessary. However, if you’re planning on cooking the celery, blanching is recommended. This is because blanching helps to retain the color, flavor, and texture of the celery. Although blanching celery rid the garden of bitter celery, it’s not as healthy as regular, green celery. Hence, blanching celery is optional.
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