Celery

Celery is a useful vegetable which has a variety of uses in the kitchen. It can be eaten raw or cooked in a range of hearty recipes and it is relatively easy to grow in the UK climate.

Growing celery:

The most important thing when it comes to growing celery in your garden is to make sure that it gets enough water. Celery naturally grows in very wet and watery ground and it will not thrive if it is allowed to get too dry. Make sure that the soil you are growing the celery in is moisture retentive, adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter to improve it.

Celery grows well if planted above a trench filled with compost and other nutrient rich materials. A celery trench is traditionally around 50cm wide and 30cm deep. This trench should be prepared in either October or November before the frosts make the soil unworkable, or in March, before the celery, which you should sow indoors in March or April, is ready to plant out in May or early June when the weather warms up.

Care should be taken at the transplanting stage as celery is very likely to bolt and go to seed if it is not treated gently. If there is a cold snap or shock for the celery, especially early in its growth, then it is unlikely that you will get a usable yield from your crop. For this reason it is especially important that you harden off your celery plants properly before placing them outside in their final growing positions.

Water, water and water some more. Consistent water for your celery plants is the main thing that will ensure a good crop. Make sure that you do not allow the celery to dry out.

Once your celery has begun to grow well, you can then 'earth up' your plants to blanch the stems by preventing the sunlight from reaching them. You should start to mound up earth around the stems of the plants when they reach a height of around 30cm. Some celery is self-blanching and so this earthing up is not a necessity for those varieties.

You can harvest celery once it is big enough between August and October. Simply cut stems off at the base with a sharp knife. Be sure to harvest before any hard frosts or the celery will be ruined.

Why grow celery in the garden?

Celery can be used in a number of ways in the kitchen. It is a great addition to a salad or a soup, for example. Celery stems can be filled with cream cheese, peanut butter or a whole range of other foods. Raw celery is great for those on a diet as there are so few calories in it that you can consume more calories by eating it than you are taking in. Celery can also be healthy and tasty in a hearty soup or stew, which is great for when the colder weather starts to creep in.  

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Apium graveolens var. dulce