Growing Celery – How to Grow Celery
Apium graveolens dulce
The old varieties of trenched celery are too demanding of space for growing in small kitchen gardens. But self-blanching celery may be grown in fairly compact blocks in the open, in cold frames, or even in tubs or other large containers.
When growing celery, you should sow in late May or early June in blocks, with about 230 mm (9 in) space between growing points.
Alternatively, they can be sown indoors in a seed tray in mid-March; do not cover the seeds in the tray with compost, but make sure they do not dry out during germination. The seedlings can be transplanted, after hardening off, in late May: they may be planted out in the main plot or in a cold frame; the protection offered by the latter ensures that the seedlings will not suffer a check when they are removed from the seed tray.
When growing celery, it will require a rich, well-drained but moisture-retentive , preferably slightly acid. If it is to be grown in the main plot, dig the ground thoroughly in the winter, mixing in well-rotted compost or, preferably, manure.
Blanching is improved by limiting the amount of light getting to the edible petioles (stems); if the celery is growing in the open, surround the outer plants in the block with a bank of soil or straw; if in tubs, the surface of the growing medium should be well below the rim; if in a cold frame, the walls of the frame will be sufficient to promote blanching. Learning how to grow celery is not hard, so long as you keep the soil moist at all times, and weed amongst it frequently, as weeds can easily smother the young plants.
When growing celery, you may find it is likely to suffer from various pests and diseases. One of the most serious can be avoided if you ensure that you buy only seed that has been treated for leaf-spot fungus. Leaf miners can be controlled as for celeriac. Slugs and snails can be dealt with by sprinkling Draza pellets around the plants.
Do not use celery until the stems are white; this is usually at least eight weeks after the first earthing up. As each celery plant is dug up for use, the soil should be replaced so that the adjacent plant is not exposed to light which will turn it green. Shake the soil from the plant and put the roots on the compost heap.
There are three main types of celery— red, pink and white. In all cases be sure to buy sterilized seed.
Pink Clayworth Prize Pink, has crisp heads of good quality. Medium size. Does not go to seed as quickly as other kinds.
Red Standard Bearer Red, has crisp, solid heads of excellent flavour. Late.
White Clandon White, is popular because it is reasonably immune from disease. Good flavour.
Sandringham White, has solid, dense heads of strong flavour. Late and good.
Wright’s Giant White, a tall, vigorous grower with solid, crisp heads.
Wright’s Grove Giant White, is more resistant to frost than any other kind.
‘Golden Self Blanching’ and its selection ‘Mammoth Self Blanching’, dwarf and compact;
‘Lathom Self Blanching’, compact, slow to bolt
Site: Suitable for blocks, or plant in frames or tubs
Soil: Enriched, well-drained but moisture-retentive
Sow: Indoors, from March; outdoors, late May to June
Harvest: Late summer and early autumn