How to Grow Celery
Ok, so I have to admit, I'd rather beat myself with a marrow than eat celery, I'm just not a fan, but my partner is, so that is why I allow it space in my vegetable garden on occasion.
Each time I have, I have done so from seedling as it's just easier than putting all the prep work into something I don't like. But I know there are plenty of celery lovers out there, so I'm not banishing it from the site!
Celery is, in my book, a bit on the fussy side! But then maybe I'm less tolerant of it.. Basically it hates heat and frost, so care must be taken when growing it. The plants have a shallow root system and do not tolerate drying out at all. This results in tough stringy stems so consistent watering and or a semi shady site is important. Also, the plant is greatly improved when the stems are blanched of light, either by growing and building up the soil or mulch to keep the light off the stems. Planting in blocks rather than rows also helps, but I normally grow them with pot around them to do the same. This also minimises the chance of fungal diseases attacking the stems.
Celery can be sown direct and grown from seed or transplanted into your vegetable garden if care is taken, however, if you are too rough when transplanting, the plants will most likely bolt to seed. Like Carrot seed, Celery is quite fine, so I'd go the sand and sprinkle route. See the planting page
Position: Semi shade to shade
Plant: Sow in punnets in early spring to transplant in early summer. (earlier if you don't get frosts)
Frost Tolerant: No. Heat tolerant: NO!
Feeding: Weekly liquid feed in mid to late summer as the plants mature. Celery loves nitrogen and more so potassium, so prepare the bed or area with potash or fireplace ash and manure and remember to keep the seed moist during germination and then water carefully, daily.
Planting group: Leaf crops
Pests: Mainly birds, snails and slugs.
Harvesting: Celery needs to be blanched either by planitng in blocks or excluding light with pots or bags. Stems can ge harvested gradually, but it's easier to uproot the plants, sever the roots and immediately remove all the leaf growth to stop the plant wilting.
Watering is very important when it comes to celery, more so than many other vegetables. Already mentioned above, Celery does not tolerate water stress (the lack of) so it must be watered daily and in warmer areas, grown in semi shaded area until harvested. Poor watering causes stringy stems so take care!