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Growing Celery - advice on how to grow Celery

Celery's high water content and fibrous nature mean that it is great for those who like to snack without gaining weight.

Celery leaves can also be eaten or used in soups or used to make celery juice.

Celery has a long groiwng period - around 5 months . A hard frost can completely destroy a whole crop.

Preparation

Dig an organic compost or manure fertiliser into the soil a few weeks before planting out the celery seedlings.

Sowing

Celery germination rates aren't great to sow your celery seeds in stations (5 seeds a station) a few inches apart and 0.5 cm deep. Thin out all but the strongest plant that emerges from each station. In the UK and similar climates you can sow your celery seed in late March. Germination takes from around 12-14 days and is successful when temperatures are around 70 deg F.

Plant out your celery seedlings when they are about 8cm tall (5-6 weeks) and temperatures have risen above 55 deg F. Space your seedlings about 15-20cm apart in rows that are about 90cm apart.

Position

Celery does not grow well in very hot conditions, a hot spell without adequate watering will result in the stems becoming tough and stringy.

Soil type

Celery likes soil that is capable of retaining moisture and so soils that have had organic compost or manure are well suited.

If your soil is well drained ensure that the celery recieves adequate regular watering in warm periods.

Tending

Careful watering is vital to good celery yields as celery requires regular frequent watering.

Weed carefully between the celery plants as the weeds will compete strongly against celery for nutrients, light and moisture. 

You can blanch your celery by covering up the stems to prevent light reaching them. Blanching your celery will reduce some ot the bitterness and will make your stalks paler. Soil or mulch can be used for blanching and should be built up as the stalks develop from about a month before you harvest the celery.

Harvesting

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.

Diseases

Various pests such as aphids, slugs and celery flies.