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Everyone who has ever eaten mussels knows green celery. It’s also used in soups and many other dishes.
The deliciously sweet and spicy aroma makes it certain that you don’t use too much of this vegetable at once.
What is green celery?
Green celery is part of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae (both scientific names can be used) family.
The Latin name of green celery is “Apium Graveolens”. In the same family, you can also find celeriac, carrots
, and parsley.
Green celery has a hollow stem and is reasonably cold hardy (although covering with straw and covering with fleece before frost is a good habit)
Green celery has almost no calories and has a lot of vitamin A
Where to grow green celery?
First of all, let me tell you that the seeds of celery need about 3 weeks to germinate so don’t be disappointed the first week if things don’t start up right away.
Also, the celery seeds need light to sprout so don’t cover them up after you sowed them.
Having a cold period makes the celery flower, so be careful not to sow or plant during periods of cold weather. It’s better to start a bit late then to start too early. Otherwise, you’ll get lots of seeds but no eatable plants.
Green celery needs a PH of about 5,5 to 6,5.
Make sure to use crop rotation if planning your garden. Diseases like celery rust and root problems can occur when planting the same crop more than twice in the same place. At least a period of 4 years has to come between each planting of the same family.
Taking care of green celery
Make sure the soil doesn’t dry out because celery likes a moist soil (not wet).
A nutrient-dense soil is good for celery. Lots of humus in the soil will give your plants a good health.
You can give your celery composted manure or rich organic fertilizer to make the plants grow healthy. Just make sure the manure or the fertilizer is worked into the soil at least a month before planting.
To sprout the seeds it’s best to keep temperatures above 18°C. Once the small plants are growing the temperature should be no less than 15°C during daytime and above 10°C at night.
transplanting green celery
If you start the seedlings indoors in trays you can transplant the seedlings once they show their true leaves.
Place one plant per pot and each pot should be 6cm in diameter.
I personally sow directly in newspaper pots with sides of about 6cm that way I don’t have to transplant before I plant them outside. I just put a couple of seeds in each pot and keep the strongest plant (make sure not to cut other seedlings outside because this can attract the celery fly).
Once I plant the celery plants outside, I can plant the paper pot in the ground without disturbing the roots. I’m just telling this because celery plants tend to flower early if they get a growth shock because of root damage.
Make sure the temperature in the cold frame or the greenhouse doesn’t rise too fast and too high in early spring because this can damage the foliage of the young plants.
When planting outside it’s best to keep the minimum distance between rows at about 50cm and the distance in the row at about 40cm. Keeping this distances makes sure the plants can dry out faster after having a wet period. If you use smaller distances, the risk of getting celery rust is much higher.
I must admit that I’m trying out the square foot gardening method at the moment and it is working really well for me. Per square of one foot, I can plant one celery. I’m even trying four per square at the moment without any problem but I have to say that there are no plants around the celery at the moment so they have an outer corner each.
I personally plant the green celeries with the heart at soil level. (the hart is the point where the leaves come out of the plant). This means that I sometimes have to bury the pots a bit deeper to be at the right level.
Planting this way gives the plants better resistance against strong wind and you don’t smother the plant with the soil (planting too deep will give problems)
Try to keep the soil as weed free as possible to avoid critters and diseases.
How to harvest green celery
this part is outdated but I still leave it in:
Harvesting green celery is pulling out the plant as a whole. I do use a small hand shovel to release the roots while pulling out the plants.
For healthy plants, it’s best to harvest at the latest in November. After this month, chances are that the heart of the plant will start to go bad.
Since this year, I’m not pulling the plants out of the soil anymore. I just cut them off where the root connects to the plant. I don’t do this for the celery but it doesn’t hurt the celery either. It does help the soil with the roots turning into fibrous material.
Diseases and pests
Green celery can get in trouble due to the celery fly. The celery fly, called Euleia Heraclei can be a real pest by mining the leaves of the plant.
The celery fly, also called hogweed fly, is a kind of fruit fly. The larvae bore their way through the leaves.
As the larvae are inside the leaves, there’s no real treatment. Removing the infected leaves and burning them is the best solution. Treating the soil to avoid pupae to survive until next season to avoid further contamination.
Aphids are another pest for green celery. Aphids can be a pest for many plants and to get rid of them takes time. Through the use of pyrethrum
, it’s possible to control the invasion, but the treatment has to be repeated 3 weeks in a row for one treatment a week to make sure that all the hatched eggs are killed off.
Make sure to treat every side of the plant and certainly the center of the plant.
I didn’t put any disease in this article at this moment because I haven’t had any problem until now. If this changes I will be amending this post.
I don’t have any pictures yet but if I make some I’ll adapt this message and show the diseases with pictures. If you’re not sure what’s happening, you can always contact me for information.