How to Grow Celery
In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing celery at home.
Quick Guide Information
Common Name: Celery
Scientific Name: Apium graveolens var. dulce
Life Span: Biannual
Time Till Harvest: 60-90 days
Light Requirement: Partial Shade
Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.0
Celery is a sensational vegetable that is extremely versatile. You can eat fresh chopped up into salads or cook it to serve as the base for countless stews, soups, curries, and stir-frys. Planted in your garden it is something you can use every day, making a true cornerstone and important member of the landscape.
Propagation, Planting and Maintenance
Celery grows best in temperate climates. It likes fertile soils that are consistently moist. This is a vegetable you can grow in soils that are a bit boggy or have a tendency to get saturated. It also tends to do well in partial shade, especially in very hot climates.
There are two main varieties of celery. These are the trench varieties and the self-blanching varieties. Trench varieties are planted in trenches and slowly buried to promote the growth of long stems. Self-blanching varieties are more straightforward and do not require this additional care. For most home gardeners, the self-blanching varieties are recommended, and this is what we will be discussing in this article
It is best to plant celery in the spring or late summer once the temperatures have cooled. Avoid planting too early as temperatures below 10C can cause celery to bolt early.
Celery seeds are small and require tender care for germination. It is usually best to start them in a tray and then separate and transplant them once they have germinated.
Sow seeds directly on top of the soil. They require some light and warmth to properly germinate. You can mulch with a very fine layer of vermiculite, sawdust, or coco coir to help retain moisture. Seeds may take up to 3 weeks to germinate, be patient and most importantly keep the soil moist!
Once germinated you can separate them gently using a chopstick or tweezers into individual starter trays or pots. Once they are about 8-10 cm in height you can place them in the garden.
Plant 15cm apart in blocks. This close spacing helps promote the growth of longer stems and mimics the philosophy around “blanching” used in trench varieties.
Plants can be harvested little by little as soon as they reach desirable size. As soon as frosts start approaching you can harvest all the stems. In winter you can protect plants by applying 5 to 10 cm of mulch.