Celery is a green, leafy vegetable that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It has long, fibrous stalks with a crisp texture and a slightly bitter, earthy flavor. Celery is low in calories and high in fiber, making it a popular choice for healthy snacks and recipes. It is often used as a base for soups, stews, and stocks, and can also be eaten raw in salads or as a snack with dips. Celery is a cool-season crop that is typically grown in the spring and fall. It prefers rich, well-draining soil and plenty of moisture.
Brief Growing Guide
- Soil Preparation: Celery prefers fertile, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.
- Starting Seeds: Celery seeds require specific temperature and moisture conditions to germinate properly. Sow seeds indoors about 10-12 weeks before the last frost, and keep the soil temperature between 70-75°F. The seeds can take up to 3 weeks to germinate, so be patient. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them to one per cell or pot.
- Transplanting: After the last frost has passed, transplant the celery seedlings to the garden. Space them about 6-8 inches apart in rows that are 24-30 inches apart.
- Watering: Celery requires consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Water deeply and regularly, but avoid getting the leaves wet which can lead to fungal diseases.
- Fertilization: Celery is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization with a balanced organic fertilizer or compost tea every 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season.
- Pest and Disease Control: Celery is susceptible to pest and disease issues such as aphids, slugs, and blight. Use organic insecticides or companion planting with beneficial insects to control pests, and avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases.
- Hilling: Celery grows best in hills that are about 6-8 inches tall. About halfway through the growing season, mound soil up around the base of the celery plants to help support them and keep the stalks white and tender.
- Harvesting: Celery takes a long time to mature, so be patient. Harvest the outer stalks as needed, leaving the center stalks to continue growing. Celery can be harvested all at once or in stages.