How to Grow: Organic Celery
Spring has officially arrived! This is the perfect time of year to brush up on your knowledge of growing techniques. Here at MIgardener, we want to share all of our favorite growing secrets; from our garden to yours. As you read through this post, you'll find there is nothing simpler than growing organic!
Celery is one of the most popular vegetables because of it's wide range of uses. Delicious in soups, salads, fresh or (if it floats your boat) covered in peanut butter! Celery is a must have for any kitchen, and strangely enough, it is one of the most purchased from the grocery store! Most people are intimidated to grow celery in their garden. Some people say celery is difficult to grow at home, but with these easy tips and tricks, you will be growing healthy, beautiful celery in no time!
Let's get started.
Because celery has thin, hairlike roots; it's important that the soil is loose. Fill your celery bed with 100% compost. This will allow the thin roots to spread out and establish correctly. Compost helps maintain even soil moisture, and has a naturally balanced ph which makes it the perfect growing medium.[caption id="attachment_277110" align="aligncenter" width="400"]
Find and all purpose fertilizer to release nutrients all season long. We use Trifecta+. Otherwise, mix a combination of epsom salt, bone meal, and blood meal into your soil to make sure celery has the nutrients it needs to grow strong. Ensure adequate calcium to avoid the disease black heart. Black heart of celery occurs when the leaf tissues in the center/base of the celery breakdown, turning black and causing crop failure. Adding calcium to your soil can help prevent this.
Celery doesn't like extremes on the ph scale. Do a soil test to make sure the soil has a neutral ph between 6.5 and 7.5. If soil is too acidic or alkaline, add more compost to balance out the ph.
Patience is key when it comes to starting celery from seed. Make sure your celery seeds aren't covered by soil, but set on the top of it. The seeds require full sun to germinate. Germination can take from 14 to 21 days. Celery requires 5-7 hours of sun each day. Any less and it won't be able to take in the energy it needs. Celery can be grown for two main purposes: fresh eating or cooking. If you are harvesting for cooking in soups, stuffing, or other dishes, don't blanch at all! The stalks will become sturdy and bright green with a brilliant flavor. In order to grow celery that is light green or white and ready for fresh eating, use a blanching technique while it grows.
1. Mound soil approximately four inches up against the developing plant to hide it from the sun.
2. To keep dirt out of your celery, blanch by tying the tops of the celery's leaves with twine. This keeps the stalks close together, hiding the center from sun but not close enough to cause mold.
Tip: Do not blanch with paper. This will result in a buildup of moisture, causing mold.
1" of water per week. Maintain even soil moisture by watering consistently. How much water is 1" of water? Learn more in this video! Avoid overhead watering to minimize potential disease problems.
Avoid overcrowding when planting celery. Make sure there is only a single plant per transplant space before it goes in the ground. If there are multiple plants in a transplant, simply thin out the excess by pulling it up by the root and discarding it. Tiny celery plants can be eaten fresh on salads! Standard spacing for celery is about one foot apart to leave enough room for airflow between plants as they mature.
Celery takes a very long time to mature. In most regions the best time to plant celery is in early spring. There is no specific temperature that is right or wrong for growing celery, it is flexible and will germinate in temperatures anywhere from 40-85°F. Cooler temperatures may cause early bolting. This is why we recommend starting celery indoors because of how long it takes them to get started. Planting in early spring will result in a robust late summer harvest.
Harvest celery as individual stalks, using outside stalks first, or pull the entire plant. Cut off the roots, and chill quickly in cool water. Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Store celery with moist soil or sand around the roots. Place in deep boxes in a cool place, ideally near freezing and high humidity.
Written by - Kaitlynn from MIgardener
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