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Articles about Vegetable Crops for the Garden

  Advantages of Container Vegetable Gardens
  Best Vegetable Crops for Containers
  Brandywine Tomatoes - Get the Most From This Heirloom Variety
  Choosing a Site For Your Home Vegetable Garden
  Container Vegetable Gardening Tips
  Container Vegetable Gardens
  Double Your Crops
  Getting Children Interested in Growing Vegetables
  Grow Your Own Salad
  Growing Tomatoes in Pots
  Growing Vegetable Plants Becomes More Than Just A Hobby
  How to Grow a Vegetable Garden
  Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas
  Indoor Vegetable Gardening How to Tips
  Learning About Indoor Container Vegetable Gardening
  List of vegetable crops by difficulty
  Mushroom Growing in Odd Unused Spaces
  Non Hybrid Seeds For Survival Gardening
  Organic Container Gardening - Simple and Easy Ways to Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Pots
  Organic Vegetable Cultivation Table
  Over Wintering Chilli Pepper Plants
  pH preferences of food crops
  Planning your Container Crops
  Planting Tomatoes Upside Down
  Potato Container Garden Tips
  Preparing a Vegetable Garden
  Review: Food4Wealth by Jonathan White
  Vegetable Container Garden Tips
  Vegetable Crops in alphabetical order by name
  Why I Recommend Vegetable Container Gardening
  Why Vegetable Container Gardening is Getting More Popular Today Than Ever
  How to grow organic Asparagus
  How to grow organic Aubergines
  How to grow organic Beetroot
  How to grow organic Broad beans
  How to grow organic Broccoli
  How to grow organic Brussels sprouts
  How to grow organic Cabbage
  How to grow organic Calabrese
  How to grow organic Carrot
  How to grow organic Cauliflower
  How to grow organic Celeriac
  How to grow organic Celery
  How to grow organic Celtuce
  How to grow organic Chinese broccoli
  How to grow organic Chinese cabbage
  How to grow organic Chicory
  How to grow organic Corn
  How to grow organic Cucumbers and Gherkins
  How to grow organic Endive
  How to grow organic Florence fennel
  How to grow organic French beans
  How to grow organic Garlic
  How to grow organic Globe artichokes
  How to grow organic Jerusalem artichokes
  How to grow organic Kale and borecole
  How to grow organic Kohl rabi
  How to grow organic Komatsuna
  How to grow organic Land cress
  How to grow organic Leaf beet
  How to grow organic Leeks
  How to grow organic Lettuce
  How to grow organic Mizuna
  How to grow organic Mustard greens
  How to grow organic New Zealand spinach
  How to grow organic Onions
  How to grow organic Parsnips and Hamburg Parsley
  How to grow organic Peas
  How to grow organic Peppers (hot and sweet)
  How to grow organic Potatoes
  How to grow organic Radishes
  How to grow organic Rocket
  How to grow organic Runner beans
  How to grow organic Salad onions
  How to grow organic Salsify, Scorzonera and Scolymus
  How to grow organic Seakale
  How to grow organic Shallots
  How to grow organic Spinach
  How to grow organic Squash
  How to grow organic Swede
  How to grow organic Texsel greens
  How to grow organic Tomatoes
  How to grow organic Turnips




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Organic Gardening:


How to grow organic Celery


by

Green (unblanched) celery
This is the American-style green celery

Celery

Apium graveolens var. dulce

Family: Umbelliferae (Group 3)

Celery comes in two main types: traditional English trench celery and the newer self-blanching and American green, which produce a similar product, but would not have been acceptable for sale until recently, due to their bitter flavour. There is also leaf celery, often grown on the Continent as a flavouring and salad herb, and turnip rooted celery or celeriac, dealt with on separate pages.

Recommended varieties

Trench (least hardy first): Giant White, Giant Pink, Giant Red
Self blanching: Lathom self-blanching (bolt resistant), Celebrity (longer sticks)
American green: Hopkins fenlander, American Green
Leaf celery: ParCel

Site/soil

Celery was originally a marsh plant and requires an open site and very fertile, moisture retaining but well drained soil containing plenty of organic matter. Ideal pH is 6.6-6.8.

For trench celery, prepare a trench in the autumn 30cm (12") deep and 40-45cm (15-18") wide, spacing trenches 10-12cm (4-5") apart. Work plenty of manure or compost into the soil in the trench and fill it to 8-10cm (3-4") below the surface, leaving the rest of the soil alongside to use for earthing up.

Sow seeds thinly in trays on the surface at 50-60ªF (10-16ªC). Germination is slow: from 12-18 days, and germination rate is lower than for most other vegetables. Ensure seedlings are kept at a temperature above 50ªF (10ªC) for the first month, or mature plants will bolt prematurely. Sowing dates are early March in a heated propagator, or March and early April in a greenhouse or under cover. Sowing in modules is recommended, as transplant shock can also result in premature bolting. Prick out or thin as early as possible. Trench celery can be sown at 3 week intervals to extend the season for the more tender part of the crop.

Planting out

Harden plants off carefully before planting out after all danger of frost has passed at the end of May or in early June. Self-blanching celery may be planted in frames in early to mid May. Reject plants with blistered leaves (celery fly). Plants are ready for transplanting when they have 5 or 6 true leaves.

Non-trenching celery is planted 15cm each way (6"x6") in blocks, to assist blanching. Trench celery is planted either in the trench, 30-45cm (12-18") apart, or on the flat at the same spacing. Once plants are established, tuck straw around those on the outside of block-planted ('self-blanching') crops to assist blanching.

Watering and feeding

To produce a good crop, celery needs regular watering, especially in dry weather; up to 4 gallons per sq yard per week. Mulching after watering is helpful. A topdressing or liquid feed can be applied about 4-6 weeks after transplanting.

Blanching trench celery

Start when plants are 30cm (1') high, around the end of July to mid August. Remove any suckers, loose, dead or decayed leaves. To blanch with collars use 15-22cm (9") strips of lightproof heavy paper or black plastic lined with paper to prevent sweating. On exposed sites, give each plant a cane, tying plant and paper to the stake. Tie the collar loosely with raffia, allowing space for the stems to expand as they grow. Further collars to extend the blanch can be added. To blanch in trenches tie the stems loosely just below the leaves, water the soil so it is just moist and draw the soil up about 8cm (3") around the stems (using a paper collar to keep soil out, if desired). Repeat every 3 weeks until only the tops are visible. Don't earth up higher than the base of the leaves and take care that no soil falls into the heart of the plants.

Harvest

Trench celery is hardier than the other types and matures in November to December. Once frosts are expected, protect the plants with bracken, straw or similar to keep them in good condition. Harvest trench types as required from November to February. Self-blanching, American green and leaf celery are not hardy and will only be available from about the end of July until frost.

Pests and diseases

Celery fly is the most serious pest, causing blistering. Keep celery and parsnips separate (parsnips may also be affected). Grow crops under fine nets to avoid this pest.
Slugs are very serious and should be tackled as soon as celery is planted out with a nematode drench.
Leaf spot is seed-borne. Non-organic growers can use treated seeds, otherwise destroy affected plants as soon as you notice them (away from the compost heap) or spray with a permitted copper fungicide.





Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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