Thursday, May 13, 2010
Growing celery is a cinch
One item we will have at the Kootenai County Farmer's Market this Saturday is Tango Celery. Many people shy away from trying to grow celery because it takes a long time to mature and it's a rather heat and cold sensitive plant. My experience however, is that it's really not that difficult to grow. First of all, celery likes a soil that retains moisture so I mix some rich compost in with the dirt. This is probably where most gardeners fail in growing celery... If the soil does not stay evenly moist, (not soggy) it will negatively affect the taste of the celery. Another factor in growing celery successfully is sunlight. Celery needs about 6 hours of sun but some shade is preferable during the hottest part of the day. In the same token, you will not want to put your celery plants out until temperatures are consistently above 50F. You will also want to fertilize your celery during the growing period....I use an organic fish emulsion. One final note on celery is that you can blanch your celery plants. The idea behind blanching them is it's supposed to make the celery more tender. The down side to blanching is you lose some vitamins from the plant...after blanching the plant turns from its dark green color to a whitish tone. I have never tried this method yet but here is what you do: You can slowly build a mound around the base of your celery plant...every few days add a little more dirt and at harvest time the plant will be fully blanched. Another method is to cover the bottom half of the celery with dark brown paper or cardboard a few weeks before harvest. So there you have it....growing your own celery is pretty easy and the flavor is spectacular.