Celery

Growing celery is rewarding because she is always producing food for us. I grow heirloom celery and the stalks are smaller and less watery than the store bought celery.

Celery can be quite peppery in taste. Growing celery lasts for years and I see people buying celery stalks in the shops and I feel grateful for my homegrown celery that provides me with food all year around.

Celery can be eaten raw or cooked and the seeds dried and used for medicinal purposes. When I eat my celery, I can feel my body being nurtured with an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

 

Propagating celery

There are many varieties of celery on the market. I use heirloom celery seed and the seed I purchased years ago continues to perform. Apium graveolens (Celery) is fairly easy to propagate using a well draining and fertile seed raising mix, in autumn or spring.

Fill some small pots (50mm tube stock are good) with the seed raising mix and organic fertiliser and water it. Check for hydrophobia.

Celery seeds are really small so sprinkle a couple of seeds on top of the seed raising mix and cover them with a sprinkle of vermiculite.

Using a misting sprayer, wet the vermiculite and place the pots in a full sun position. Make sure the vermiculate stays moist. The seeds should germinate within 2 weeks, but they can take a bit longer.

Once the seedlings are about 5-6 weeks old they should be ready to plant out.

 

Cultivating celery

Celery typically likes a rich, moist, fertile but well draining soil. I’ve had celery plants rot at the root because the clay soil was a bit too heavy and wet. So if you have clay, you’ll need to transform it a bit to make it more well draining or plant your celery up above the clay layer.

Celery can suffer under a hot summer sun. So plan to put it in a filtered light position in mid summer, otherwise place it where it’ll enjoy full sun in winter. I once used corn to shade my celery from the mid summer sun. It worked well. Celery can also be transplanted so if you don’t choose the right spot, you can dig it up and move it without too much drama.

 

Harvesting celery

Once our plants are fairly well established we can start harvesting from them. Choose older leaves on the outsides of the plant rather than the new leaves in the centre. Always leave enough leaves for the plant to continue growing.

I harvest entire stalks and leaves.

 

Susceptibilities

Snails and slugs love celery! I keep these critters at bay by spreading crushed eggshells around the celery plants and also sprinkling used coffee grounds in and among the leaves and stalks.

Celery is susceptible to a range of fungus but only on stressed plants or plants that are in contact with a contagious agent. Damaging fungus including anthracnose and Septoria fungus the latter of which looks like dead necrotic spots on the plant. Both diseases are difficult to manage once the plant is infected. The best remedy is to remove the plants to the bin and start again. If we use a fungicide we need to ensure it is registered, otherwise we’re breaking the law.

Also, when using fungicides we should recognise that fungicides kill fungi. Most fungi in our gardens are beneficial for our gardens. Most fungi work in synergy with our plants providing water and other vital nutrients. Therefore, the best remedy is preventing the disease by ensuring a healthy and fertile soil, reduced humidity and overhead watering and identify and act quickly on disease states.

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