How to Grow Celery

by on January 25, 2012


One of the most basic vegetables in the American diet is celery. It is a versatile and tasty option that is useful in everything from soups and stews to salads and other dishes, but a lot of urban gardeners are scared of growing celery at home because they have been misinformed about just how complicated it is to grow. Here is all you need to know to grow great celery plants at home.
Temp Range: 50 – 60 degrees F
Seed to Plate: 120 days
Light Needs: 6-8 hours of full sun per day
How Much to Grow Per Person: 1 plant per person for average consumption
Average Space Needs: 4 plants / 1 Square Foot
Water Needs: moist, well drained soil
Soil pH: 6.5 – 7.0

The most important thing to remember is that celery needs a lot of nutrition to grow to its full potential. It grows best in a well amended and well worked soil that is rich with compost and manure.

One of the most common complaints from those new to growing celery is that the celery plant takes quite a long time to mature, between 90 and 120 days depending on the variety.

How to Start Celery Seed

To start celery from seed, begin indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last frost in your area. Soak celery seed in water for 12-24 hours, then sow them on top of moist seed starting medium. Lightly sprinkle seed starter on top of the seeds to a depth no deeper than about 1/8”. Celery seed has to have light to germinate, so planting them too deep will result in a very low germination rate.

Cover the seed starting tray with plastic wrap or by securing a plastic bag over  it with a string or rubber band. Celery requires  constant moisture to germinate and this will keep the seeds from drying out before they start.

When the seedlings get about 1 1/2” tall, separate them into individual pots.  When the frost is over outside, transplant the celery seedlings into the garden. If you follow the space-saving square foot method, you can plant up to 4 celery plants in a single square foot space.

Harvesting Celery

While the entire plant is harvested when it reaches the appropriate size, you can also harvest the outer stalks sparingly during the growth process.

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