Do you want to learn how to grow Celery? Well, in this article, we will tell you everything you about growing Celery.
Starting from choosing the right variety of celery, site and soil preparation, planting outdoors and indoors, care to harvest, we will cover everything.
Let us begin!!
1) Choosing Plants
Garden celery-which was developed from a wild marsh plant, will grow in almost any garden if you make sure the soil is kept moist. Choose a heat-resistant cultivar if your springs warm up fast. Bolt-resistant cultivars are always a good choice. Choose an early-maturing cultivar if your spring and fall seasons are short.
2) Site and Soil For Growing Celery
Celery needs rich, water-retentive soil and protection from dry heat. It will thrive in part shade as long as it gets at least half a day of sun. In hot areas it prefers partial shade; try planting it under taller plants.
Celery is a greedy feeder and needs rich soil.
Site Preparation for Growing Celery
- Prepare the site by spreading 10 to 20 pounds of compost per 100 square feet.
- Dig or till about 4 inches deep.
- If your soil is clayey, build raised beds adding as much sand, compost, or leaf mold as you can get.
3) Planting Celery
a. When to plant
Celery takes 80 to 120 days from seed to harvest. Plant in spring or late summer for fall harvest. Celery is a winter crop in the Deep South.
For a spring crop, start seedlings indoors eight to ten weeks before the last expected spring frost.
Start fall transplants indoors or in a cool, shady area of your garden about 2 months before you plan to move them to your garden.
b. How much to plant
Grow 6 plants per person. A 100-foot row will produce 65 plants.
c. Starting plants indoors
- Soak seeds overnight in compost tea to encourage germination.
- Sow them 1/8 inch deep in individual pots or flats. Keep the temperature at 70°F in the daytime and 60°F at night.
- Keep the soil constantly moist.
- Once plants emerge, keep the daytime temperature between 65° and 75°F and the nighttime temperature between 60° and 65°F.
- When flat-grown plants are 4 inches tall, prick them out into pots.
d. Planting Outdoors
Plant transplants out once the nights are consistently 40°F or more. Drench trans-plants and soil with compost tea. Spread 4 to 8 inches of organic mulch around them.
4) Seasonal Care
Whether you’re growing celery in spring or fall, follow these basic care guidelines to get the best harvest.
a. Cover soil with a floating row over
Cover early plantings with row cover to prevent bolting (going to seed). If insect pests were a problem in previous seasons, cover all plantings and leave covered until harvest unless temperatures go above 75°F.
Mix 1 tablespoon of fish emulsion and 2 table-spoons of kelp extract per gallon of water and give each plant 1/2 cup once a week until they are 8 inches tall.
Water well. Celery insists on evenly moist, but not soggy, soil all season.
d. Blanch stalks
Even golden “self-blanching” cultivars are sweeter and more tender when blanched. Try one of the blanching methods illustrated on this page.
Cut outside stalks with a sharp knife as needed during the season, being careful not to uproot the plant. To harvest a whole plant, use a spade to cut the plant off just below the soil’s surface.
Harvest all your celery before hard frost. Dig plants up, roots and all, and plant them in deep boxes of moist sand. Store the boxes in a cool place and your celery will keep for several months.
6) Extending the Celery Growing Season
To get a head start in the spring, prewarm the soil by covering it with black plastic for a few weeks. Once the soil temperature is 40°F, set out transplants and cover them with floating row cover until nighttime temperatures remain above 40°F.
Celery will tolerate cold down to about 25°F. Blanching structures give some frost protection. Cover fall crops with row cover and they will remain sound for at least a few extra weeks depending on your weather.
7) Solving Celery Problems
Use the below table to identify problems on your plants. Scan the list of symptoms to find the description that most closely matches what you see in your garden. Then refer across the table to learn the cause and the recommended solutions.
For some problems, by the time you see the damage, there is little you can do to fix things on the current crop. In the future, take preventive steps such as planting bolt-resistant cultivars and rotating the position of your celery plants.
|1||Leaves distorted, sticky; small, green insects on plants||Aphids||Spray weekly with a strong stream of water into remove aphids. Spray severe infestations with ii soap, neem, or pyrethrins.|
|2||Stunted, yellow plants; curled leaves; discolored crowns||Fusarium yellows||Pull and destroy affected plants. Solarize soil to reduce amount of disease in the soil.|
In the future, plant celery in another part of your garden and choose yellows-tolerant cultivars.
|3||Plants stunted; leaf edges brown||Heat||Temperatures above 75°F can stunt celery. Shade plants and keep soil constantly moist. In the future, choose heat-resistant cultivars for summer crops.|
|4||Water soaked, brown tips on youngest leaves; inner leaves and stalks turn black||Black heart (calcium deficiency)||Discard blackened sections of plants; the rest is edible. Mild cases can be salvaged by keeping the soil evenly moist, but not soggy, for the rest of the season.|
|5||Large holes chewed in leaves||Caterpillars||Handpick caterpillars. If the damage is severe, spray BTK.|
|6||Small plants chewed off; holes in stalks||Slugs||Set out slug traps; check daily and destroy accumulated slugs.|
Spread wood ash or natural grade diatomaceous earth around plants. renewing the dust after each rain.
|7||Seed stalks develop||Low temperatures||Celery bolts (goes to seed) if plants are exposed to temperatures below 40°F for 10 days or more.|
Harvest plants as soon as you notice seed stalks forming. In the future, choose bolt-resistant cultivars and delay planting out until the weather is warm.
|8||New growth distorted, yellow||Aster yellows||Harvest mildly affected plants immediately. Pull and destroy severely affected plants. If leafhoppers are numerous, spray plants with insecticidal soap or neem slow spread of the disease.|
|9||Crown and stems with slimy black or brown rot||Various diseases||Harvest undamaged parts of the plant immediately. Destroy infected plant material and all crop debris after harvest.|
In the future, plant celery in another part of your garden.