How to Grow Celery | Guide to Growing Celery

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How to Grow Celery | Guide to Growing Celery  
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Perhaps the most difficult vegetable to grow in many areas, this long-season crop must be started inside. Seeds are slow to germinate, and if transplanted outside too early, plants will bolt in response to cold. Also requires consistent moisture and dislikes heat.



14 to 21 days, 70F to 75F

5 years

Damp, High Fertility

Full Sun, Part Shade

2cm apart (indoors)

6" to 12 " apart

120 to 140

Growing Guide
Prefers full sun.

Prefers rich soil, high in organic matter with pH 6.0 to 7.0 and consistent, plentiful supply of moisture. Can tolerate soils that are less than well-drained because it was originally a wetland plant.

Seeds need to be started inside and are difficult to germinate. Cold weather after transplanting can cause bolting. Needs plentiful moisture and long season, but doesn't tolerate heat well.

Start plants inside about 10 to 12 weeks before last frost. Plant several seeds per cell. Seeds need light to germinate, so don't cover seed deeply. Keep soil moist and warm (about 70 F to 75 F) until seeds germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. After germination, grow inside in a cool location (about 60 F to 70 F). Thin to one seed per cell.

Plants will withstand light frost, but 10 days with night temperatures below 40 and days below 55 F can cause bolting. So harden plants by reducing water, not lowering temperature.

Set out transplants 6 to 12 inches apart, rows 18 to 36 inches apart, about 2 weeks before average last frost.

Plants are shallow-rooted and require consistent moisture. Lack of water will make stalks fibrous and bitter. Mulch to retain moisture, suppress weeds and avoid disturbing roots when cultivating.

For a milder flavor, blanch by wrapping stalks two weeks before harvest with paper, a cardboard milk carton or other material.


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Harvesting Guide
Harvest celery when it has reached the desired size, cut the plant off above the soil line so that all stalks are still as one unit. Wash the stalk bulb in cold water and dry. Celery will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Celery will blanch natrurally when in storage.

You can if you desire remove a few stalks at a time rather than harvesting the whole plant. If doing this remove the outer stalks first and let the less developed inner stalks continue in their development. Take care not to damage the rest of the plant if removing individual stalks.

Celery's primary umbels mature first and often shatter before the secondary umbels are dry. It is best to hand harvest the umbels as they mature. The seeds can be separated easily as the umbels are harvested and will be fairly clean. Any remaining dust and debris can be removed by screening or winnowing.

"If further drying is necessary, the umbels can be dried in the sun below 95 degrees F. and then covered at night to protect from the dew."


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