Celery and its cousin celeriac, or celery root, are somewhat all picky. They’re picky about weather. They want it cool, and they want it cool for quite a while. They’re fantastic crops for cool-summer areas, as temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees at night are ideal. Celery can tolerate frost, but it doesn’t really like it chilly.
Celery and celeriac are also picky about other growing conditions. They want consistent food and water, protection from pests and, in the instance of celery, special growing conditions. To achieve the mild-tasting mild stalks located in supermarkets, you’ll need to blanch the stalks prior to crop. Celeriac, which is grown for its root, will not need blanching. If you are patient and up for a challenge, then you may choose to provide celery a go.
More: The way to grow cool-season veggies
When to plant: After the last frost in cold-winter ponds; fall through spring in mild-winter ponds
Days to maturity: 90 to 120
Light requirement: Full sun
Water requirement: Regular
Celery: Conquistador, Georgia Southern, Giante Pascal, Golden Boy, Tall Utah 52-70 Improved, Tango, Tendercrisp
Celeriac: Brilliant, Diamant, Giant Prague
Planting and care: Start seeds indoors about 10 weeks prior to your planned planting date. In cold-weather ponds, then set out following the last frost date . In mild-winter climates, set out from fall to spring up if the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Place plants 6 to 10 inches apart. Maintain the soil constantly moist and fertilize regularly; liquid fertilizer is best. Problems include aphids, cabbage loopers, leafhoppers, nematodes, wilt and blights.
Three to four weeks before harvest, tie the tops of celery stalks together and mound dirt over them or cover them with rolled-up newspaper, pipes, cans or milk cartons (with ends removed). The leaves should not be covered. You don’t need to blanch celery, however; unblanched celery has a stronger taste and is much more nutritious.
Harvest: For celery, you can get rid of the person stalks or the entire plant. Cut at the bottom. Dig up celeriac roots when they’re about two inches wide.