Do you enjoy the fresh, crisp taste of celery? I mean, nothing makes a better snack than a piece of celery coated in peanut butter, homemade pimento cheese, or some delicious veggie dip.
But are you aware that celery offers a ton of health benefits too. You actually burn more calories chewing celery than what it contains so it is considered a negative calorie food. Plus, it is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory food which is very important for our health. It can help fight cancer and chronic disease.
So with all of this in mind, wouldn’t you love to know how to grow it yourself?
It is known as being a difficult plant to grow. But with these two methods of growing it, hopefully you can find success with it and enjoy as much celery as you’d like.
Celery Plant Info
- Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
- Soil: Loam, clay, sandy, fertile, PH between 6.0 to 6.8, thin layer of compost before planting
- Sun Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
- Start Indoors: 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost date
- Start Indoors (in fall): 20 to 26 weeks before the first frost date
- Hardening Off: At least 7 to 10 days before transplanting
- Transplant Outdoors: When the weather has settled after the last frost, when seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves
- Spacing: 6 to 12 inches between plants and 18 to 40 inches between rows
- Depth: ¼ to ½ inch seed depth
- Best Companions: Beans, onions, cabbage, leek, cauliflower, spinach, tomato, cucumber, garlic, lettuce
- Worst Companions: Corn, carrots, irish potato, parsley, parsnip
- Watering: Heavy, at least 1 inch per week
- Fertilizing: Apply balanced fertilizer 2 to 3 weeks before planting, side-dress after every 10 to 14 days
- Common Problems: Bacterial blight, soft rot, celery mosaic, dumpin off, early blight, downy mildew, late blight, fusarium yellows, powdery mildew, pink rot, armyworm, aphids, nematodes
- Harvest: 100 to 130 days after seed starting, when the stalks are at least 8 inches long
Here is how you grow celery:
Method 1: Growing Celery Indoors
I love the idea of growing celery indoors. I think it is neat to have your vegetables readily available and growing fresh right on your counter or windowsill.
Also, most people don’t preserve celery. So you don’t need a ton of it at once usually. Which means having it on hand for a recipe or a snack is much easier when growing indoors.
Here is how you grow your own celery right in your kitchen:
1. Buy Celery from the Store and Use the Base
This method does require that you start with celery that is already grown. You’ll need to purchase a bunch of celery from your local supermarket or farmer’s market.
Then you’ll want to cut the base of the celery off of the bunch. You will wash and store the celery stalks as usual and use them at your convenience.
However, you’ll want to save the base because this is your new celery plant.
2. Give it a Spa Day
After cutting the base off of the bunch of celery it is time to soak it. You’ll want to fill a small bowl with warm water. The warm water helps germination take place so that is an important step.
Then you’ll place the base of the celery in the warm water and leave it for one week. Be sure that the cut side of the base is facing up in the bowl. Also, you’ll want to be sure that the bowl is near a window for natural light.
3. Transplant the Base
After the one week has passed, you should begin to see tiny sprouts of new growth. This is when you’ll know that the base is ready to be transplanted.
So you’ll remove the base of the celery from the warm bowl of water. Then you’ll need to fill a flower pot with potting soil. You will want to cover the celery base completely.
However, it is important to note that the sprouts should be left sticking up out of the potting soil. Then you’ll need to water your new plant.
It is recommended that you use a spray bottle with water in it. That way you don’t over water the plant. You want it to be moist and remain moist without drowning it.
So using a spritzer bottle should help you to accomplish that. But if you aren’t seeing growth or if your stalks begin to look small or brown, then know that you aren’t watering the plant enough.
4. Enjoy Your Celery
The final step in this process is to harvest your celery. It will take the plant about 5 months to regenerate growth.
Obviously, this is the easiest method (in my opinion) but is not the fastest. Yet, you can have a constant celery source right on your kitchen counter using this method.
Also, it is really great that after you have more celery grow, you can repeat the same process and grow even more celery right in your own kitchen.
Otherwise, you’ll wait until a stalk becomes large enough to eat, and gently cut it from the plant. Remember that the more green the stalk is the more nutrients it provides to you.
Method 2: Growing Celery Outdoors
Growing celery outside is rather complicated. It doesn’t like heat and love constant moisture. It is also very difficult to transplant. Yet oddly enough, farmers say that is how you get your best success rate.
1. Start Your Seeds
It is important to start your celery seeds indoors about 10 weeks before the final frost. This will give the seeds time to germinate and become stronger for the transplant.
If you decide to direct sow your seeds make sure not to sow them until the temperature is going to be between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Celery will begin to wilt if planted during a time when it will get hotter than these temperatures, and it won’t produce if the temperatures are any lower.
This is why in the North celery is grown during the summer and in the south it is a late fall or winter crop. Be sure to use the almanac to know when is the best time to grow celery in your area.
2. Plant Your Seedlings
Celery loves to eat. This means that you need to work fertilizer and compost into your soil before planting your seedlings.
When planting your seedlings, make sure they are planted 10-12 inches apart. If you are sowing the seeds directly into the soil, they’ll need to be planted a quarter of an inch deep, and then you’ll need to return to thin them out after germination has occurred. You want a 12 inch space between them after they have reached 6 inches or greater in height.
3. Mulch Your Seedlings
Remember when I mentioned that celery is a heavy feeding plant that loves moisture? Well, it needs to be mulched in order to retain the moisture and the food that it so desperately desires.
So after your seedlings have been planted (or your seeds have become seedlings if you directly sowed them) be sure to mulch around each plant. This extra step can help give the plant what it needs and give you a greater chance of being successful at raising celery.
4. Water, Feed, and Tie
You will need to add mulch and compost regularly to your celery. This will help with food and moisture. Then you’ll need to be sure to water the celery regularly throughout the entire growing period. If your stalks are looking small and dry, then you know they aren’t being watered enough.
After you have the food and water part covered, you’ll need to remember to tie the stalks together. When your celery begins to take off, instead of letting the stalks lay everywhere, it is important to tie them together neatly. This will keep them from crawling all over the ground.
5. Be on the Lookout for Pests
Celery has pests that will naturally impact them if you grow celery outdoors. You’ll need to look for pests such as cutworms, whiteflies, aphids, and mosaic virus. If you can keep your plants fed, watered, cool, and pest free, then you should hopefully end up with a good crop.
6. Harvest and Store
Celery is harvested at the stalks. You’ll want to cut the stalks from the outside and work your way in. The greener you allow the stalks to become the more nutrients it should provide for you.
So after you harvest the stalks of celery, you’ll want to place them in a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge for no more than two weeks.
Recipes to Use Your Celery
If you love celery, you might be ecstatic to learn how to grow it. But if you are someone that likes to grow as much of their own food as possible, but just can’t see yourself utilizing all of this celery, then you might need a few recipes to point you in the right direction.
Here are 5 recipes that will help you to use your celery in functional but unique ways:
1. Braised Celery
This recipe shows you how to use celery as a delicious side dish. It requires only a few basic ingredients and would accompany most meat dishes well.
So if you are looking for all of the healthy vitamins and minerals that celery can provide in a different way, then you’ll want to give this recipe a try.
2. Cream of Celery Soup
This is another super simple recipe that will allow you to use your fresh grown celery. You might be wondering when you would use a cream of celery soup.
Well, it could make a great base to some cream soups, or you could use it with crock pot chicken recipes to give it a different taste.
3. Green Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad
Do you like different crunchy salads? Well, if so, then you will probably love this recipe. It has a ton of fresh ingredients that all offer a lot of crunch with it.
Plus, it also shows you how to make a delicious vinaigrette dressing to accompany this very appetizing salad.
4. Frozen Celery
I told you earlier that most people don’t preserve celery. Just because they don’t commonly can it, doesn’t mean it can’t be frozen.
So this tutorial shows you how to freeze celery so it is easy to use for different recipes or even a quick snack. Plus, you don’t lose any produce this way.
5. Buffalo Chicken and Celery Appetizer
I really like this celery recipe. The reason is that I love celery with all kinds of different items on it. Since I’m a huge buffalo chicken fan, this would naturally be a great topping for me.
So if you like to enjoy celery with yummy goodness heaped on top of it, then you’ll want to check out this recipe.
Now, you not only know how to grow your celery both indoors and outdoors, but you are also prepared to use the celery in 5 different ways.
Hopefully this will help you to enjoy a fresh harvest of celery when you want it and save a little money along the way as well.
But I’d love to hear what you think. Have you ever grown celery? What challenges did you face? Was it easy or hard for you? And how did you utilize or preserve your harvest?