Growing Celery in Zone 7

Celery is not an easy vegetable to grow, but the task is worthwhile because the  flavor of fresh-grown celery is so much better than that you buy in stores and markets.

If you can buy young celery plants, the task of growing celery is much easier.

Here is what the Almanace says about growing Celery:

The following video recommends against trying to grow celery from seed.  Instead, buy young plants ready to transplant.

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1.  Plant directly in a raised bed, filled with pure compost

2.  Supplement the soil with an equal mix of epsom salt,   bone meal, and blood meal [or Trifecta]

3.  Full Sun

4. Plant seed starts not seeds

5.  If more than one plant is in the start, pinch out extra plants.  You only want 1 plant per space.

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6.  Space about 1 foot apart

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7.  When the plant has doubled itself, blanch the stalks by pulling dirt around the stalks–only allowing the leaves to show.

If you are ambitious and want to start from seed, here is what the Almanac said:

How to Start Celery Seeds for the Spring Garden

  • Celery seeds should always be started indoors for the best success rate, 8 to 10 weeks before the average last frost date for your area.
  • For summer gardeners, a late summer direct sowing is possible. Be sure that temps will stay between 55 and 70ºF throughout growing period.
  • The National Gardening Association recommends soaking seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting, to reduce germination time.
  • Work organic fertilizer or compost into the soil prior to planting.
  • Harden off seedlings before transplanting by reducing water slightly, and keeping them outdoors for a couple hours a day.
  • Transplant seedlings 10 to 12 inches apart, direct sow seeds ¼ inch deep. These will need to be thinned to 12 inches apart when they reach about six inches high.
  • Mulch and water directly after planting.

Care

  • Celery is a heavy feeder. It also requires lots of water. Make sure to provide plenty of water during the entire growing season, especially during hot, dry weather.
  • If celery does not get enough water, the stalks will be dry, and small.
  • Add plenty of compost and mulch around the plants to retain moisture.
  • Fertilize regularly. Add mulch as needed, to help retain soil moisture and add nutrients.
  • Tie growing celery stalks together to keep them from sprawling.

Harvest/Storage

  • The parts of celery that are harvested are mainly the stalks, which will be above ground.
  • Harvest stalks from the outside in. You may begin harvesting when stalks are about 8 inches tall.
  • Celery can be kept in the garden for up to a month if soil is built up around it to maintain an ideal temperature. Note: Celery will tolerate a light frost, but not consecutive frosts.
  • Tip: The darker the stalks become, the more nutrients they will contain. Texture changes with color, dark green stalks will be tougher.
  • Keep celery in a plastic bag, in the refrigerator. It should be used within two weeks

Recommended Varieties

  • ‘Utah’ good for gardeners with limited space. Will only reach 18 inches tall.
  • ‘Alfina’ slender stalks, dark green, quick variety (60 days to maturity)
  • ‘Conquistador’ is tolerant of higher temps and watering shortage.

 http://www.almanac.com/plant/celery

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