Celery botanical name is Apium graveolens var. dulce and is a member of the Apiaceae also called Umbelliferae family, some other members of this family are fennel, carrots, dill, parsnips and parsley. This vegetable is a cool-season crop. Celery grows best where daytime temperatures are consistently greater than fifty-five degree Fahrenheit but not consistently warmer than eighty degree Fahrenheit. If the temperatures are very warm the celery plant will grow stringy, if the temperatures fall below fifty degree Fahrenheit the celery plant will send up flower stalks and become bitter flavored.
Start celery indoors fourteen to six weeks before the last expected frost in spring. Also, transplants can go in the garden 2 weeks before the last expected frost. Sow seed in midsummer fourteen to twelve weeks before the first frost for an autumn harvest.
Celery normally matures in ninety-eight to one hundred and thirty days from seed sowing depending on the variety.
Tips on How to Plant Celery
- The celery seed is viable for five years.
- Sow seed indoors fourteen to six weeks before the last spring frost. Set out seedlings when they reach about three inches tall about the time of the last frost.
- Sow the celery seed ⅛ inch deep (3 mm).
- The celery seed will germinate in ten days at seventy-five degree Fahrenheit. Soak the celery seed overnight in water before sowing.
- The blanching celery varieties need to be planted in a trench twelve inches deep by eighteen inches wide. This will allow for stalks to be gathered and wrapped in wax paper and the trenches to be filled in about midseason; this is actually part of the blanching process.
- The self-blanching celery varieties do not actually require trenches or efforts to blanch the stalks.
- Harden the plants by reducing water for seven to ten days before transplanting.
- Use row covers to keep the celery plants warm for a month after transplanting.
- Space the plants six to eight inches apart in all directions.
- You can add aged compost to planting beds in advance of sowing. Actually the compost will feed the soil and aide moisture retention.
- Celery plant normally grow best when daytime temperatures are in the 60s°
- Celery plant also prefers a pH range of at least 5.8 to 6.8.
- You can grow celery in full sun and they also tolerates partial shade.
- Make sure you avoid planting celery where dill, fennel, carrots, parsley, or parsnips have been grown recently.
- You can easily fertilize with an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion at half strength.
- Some common pests of celery plant include cabbage loopers, aphids, slugs, weevils, celery worms, spider mites and whiteflies.
- Some common diseases of celery plant include leaf spot, blight, damping off, and celery mosaic.
Celery Companion Plants: Grow celery with lettuce, beans, spinach, cabbage family plants, and peas.
Growing Celery in Container: You can easily grow self-blanching varieties in a container that is at least ten to twelve inches (25-30) wide and deep.
Calendar for Planting Celery
- Twelve to ten weeks before the last frost in spring: start the celery seed indoors.
- Three to two weeks before the last frost in spring: transplant the celery seedlings into the garden; the minimum soil temperature should be about 40°
- Sow the celery seed indoors every six to eight weeks for succession crops.
- Eight weeks after the last spring frost: transplant the celery seedlings into the garden for autumn and winter harvest.
Celery Varieties To Grow
- ‘Conquistador variety: This variety is tolerant of temperature and moisture stress.
- ‘Ventura variety: This variety is disease tolerant and it can be harvest early.
- ‘Tango variety: Tango is an early variety.