Celery grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches and is composed of leaf top stalks arranged in a cone that are joined at a common base. For more information on celery,
VARIETIES: Utah and Pascal are two varieties that remain green when ready for eating and are considered to be the finest quality.
As celery has a small root system and is a poor nutrient forager, good, nutrient-rich soil is needed to encourage growth. Before planting, incorporate up to 2 to 4 inches of well-composted organic matter and apply 2 to 4 cups of all-purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet. Work this into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil, and then smooth the surface for planting. For more information on soil preparation, click here.
- Celery is started from a seed best planted around the beginning of February.
- Once developed, celery can be transplanted to the garden by April.
- Space rows 2 feet apart and the plants 1 foot apart in the row.
- Tight planting helps force long growth and tall petioles.
Irrigation: Good water is essential to successful celery production. Celery needs at least 1 to 2 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation, during growing season. Always soak the soil thoroughly when watering as celery has a small, shallow root system. Any water stress during the year causes the stalks to become stringy and gives them a strong flavor. Drip irrigation has proved to be one of the more efficient methods for watering celery. For more information on watering, click here.
Fertilization: In addition to the fertilizer used at planting, celery responds well to additional fertilizer as it develops. Apply a side dressing of a complete fertilizer at a rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet six weeks after transplanting and with nitrogen at ½ pound per 100 square feet four weeks later. For more information on fertilizing, click here.
Harvest: Harvest celery stalks by removing the outer petioles when they are a foot or more in length. Whole plants are ready to use when they are 3 inches or more in diameter. The inner stalks are the most tender and taste the best uncooked. Celery harvested in dry, hot weather may be tough, stringy and bitter. Store harvested celery in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES: Aphids, powdery mildew and black heart are common pests of celery. They can be treated with appropriate insecticides and proper watering. For more information on controlling pests and diseases, click here.