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.

7 comments:

  1. I'm not a big celery fan but have been wanting to grow it (I have the perfect spot for it). My husband, who likes celery, always vetoes me. LOL. Go figure.

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  2. Rachel, I'm not a huge fan of plain celery...I like to cook with it though because it brings a great flavor to soups and stews...not to mention seafood salad.

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  3. I have to agree, celery gets a bad wrap. I've grown it a few times without any problems. I blanched it the first time I grew it, I just place pots over them with the bottom cut out. Haven't blanched since though.

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  4. Dan, my grandma said they used to put the round oatmeal containers around their plants to blanch them. I have never tried it and my celery always turns out great.

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  5. This is my first year growing celery....so far, I have found them to be pretty non-fussy.

    I have a question for you though, can you eat celery at any stage??? I didn't thin mine before transplanting (they are currently growing in clusters of 4-5) and it seems to be holding them back. I just don't want the thinnings to go to waste.

    Also, are the leafy tops poisonous in any way? I feel like I was warmed as a kid not to eat them.

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  6. Hey Sunny, I just added a second video of Eliot Coleman. He definitely is inspiring.

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  7. Thomas, I have eaten celery at all growing phases although it seems to have a strong flavor early on and it's a bit more stringy....still good for soups and such though...I have not eaten the tops but many people have told me you can...I wonder what part of the plant they make celery salt from...

    Cool on the Eliot Coleman...I'm definitely checking it out...Ok, I was born in 1965 and that guy was rockin with the organics way back then and everyone thought he was crazy : )

    He is very inspiring : )

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