How to Grow Celery
How to Grow Celery
Celery is a vegetable with such a characteristic taste that it’s not to everyone’s liking. Celery stalks may be eaten raw, cooked whole as a vegetable on its own, or chopped up and put in stews. It is, in other words, very versatile. However, it is not an easy vegetable to grow well. Older varieties need to be grown in a trench and earthed up; modern ones don’t – they are termed ‘self-blanching’.
Bearing in mind that the great celery-growing area in Britain is the Fens, a deep, light soil well supplied with bulky organic matter is ideal. Heavy land is seldom successful unless greatly lightened and improved with bulky organic matter.
A well-grown crop should yield 14 lb (6.4kg) per 10ft (3m) of row.
Time from Sowing to harvest
4-5 months and more, depending on the variety.
‘Loretta’ and ‘Galaxy’ (self-blanching), ‘Victoria’ (for trenching).
Sow in a heated, or indoors, in mid-February.
Prick out into individualpots, still in heat, when large enough to handle, and later into larger pots if necessary. Harden off and plant outside during May or June when the risk of frost is over.
Plant self-blanching varieties in blocks 9in (23cm) apart each way. For trenching (hardier) varieties, dig out a trench 12in (30cm) deep by 15in (37.5cm) wide. Work plenty of organic matter into the bottom and set the plants 10in (25cm) apart down the middle of the trench. The ridges on the edges of the trench can be used to grow a quick crop ofor .
A good system with self-blanching celery is to surround the block of plants closely with sacking or black plastic to improve the blanching. Copious watering is needed to prevent the self-blanching varieties becoming tough and stringy – as much as 4 gallons/yd2 (221/m2) a week.
Once trench varieties are about 10in (25cm) tall, loosely tie newspaper round them and fill in the trench to the top of the leaf stalks. Repeat the performance finally in September but be ready to put straw over the leaves once the frosts start.
Pests and diseases
Celery fly maggots are the worst.amongst the leaf stalks.
Lift the self-blanching types during the summer and autumn as you need them. When you start using the trenched plants, lift them carefully to avoid damage to the roots of their neighbours. Store a few plants upright in a box under cover before the really cold weather makes it impossible to dig them up.