Growing celery is the best way to ensure you have enough for cooking. But you need to make sure you plant correctly to get the desired results.
Where to Plant Celery
The best site is one that receives six full hours of sunshine every day. The soil pH level needs to be 6.0 or 6.5. You can add richness to the soil by putting in manure and some compost. You can add potassium to the site by spraying it with some wood ashes.
Planting the Seeds
You have two options. You can purchase started plants or plant the seeds indoors. If you choose the latter, plant them two months before the last expected frost. After hardening the seedlings, you can start growing celery outdoors.
Transplant them only if the temperature is consistently above 50 degrees F. Planting them in temperatures below 40 F is not recommended. Put the plants deeper than you would in flats. The spacing should be 5 to 10 inches.
Proper Care and Maintenance
You should water it with a diluted mix of seaweed extract and fish emulsion. You also need to add some mulch. This is necessary to keep weeds away. It also helps to keep the moisture in the soil. You can also use floating row covers to keep those insects away. The soil needs to be consistently damp. You also need to nourish it with manure tea once a month.
After growing celery, you just wait to harvest them. You can pick the celery off as soon as they get big enough to consume. You can slice off each stem or you can just take out the plant.
Timing is important when planting celery. It takes about 5 months for it to fully grow. If you plant it at the wrong time, the winter frost could catch up and destroy it. For the best result, you should dig the compost in the soil weeks before you actually plant.
You should thin out all but the strongest ones. This ensures that only the strong ones will get the nutrients and sustenance. Don’t forget to increase the watering during the summer. Lack of water will affect the growing celery. The stems will turn brittle.
You need to take out the weeds regularly. These will rob the plants of needed nutrients. The weeds also rob it off light and moisture. You can also blanch the celery to take away the bitter taste. It will also turn the stalks a bit pale. You can use the soil and mulch when blanching.
Celery can be stored in the fridge for two weeks. Before storing it, wash the stalk bulb. Allow it to dry. As stated earlier, you can take out the entire plant or just grab a few stalks at a time. If you’re just removing a few stalks, take out the outer ones first. Let the inner ones grow.
Even with very little experience, growing celery should pose little problems. As long as you nurture it well, you can expect to get a good harvest.