All About Growing Celery

By growing celery, you can cut back on or eliminate chemical residues found on nonorganic celery sold at the supermarket.

| December 2011/January 2012

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    Learn how to grow your own stalk celery, cutting celery and celeriac for a crunchy, flavorful addition to your organic garden.
  • cagspot-celery
    Homegrown celery has a classic flavor that makes a great addition to soups, stews, salads and more.

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  • cagspot-celery

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

For centuries, aromatic celery has flavored soups and added crunch to salads. But today’s commercial, non-organic celery continuously ranks near the top of the list of vegetables known to carry chemical residues, with some samples tainted with more than 60 pesticides.

That’s a great reason to buy organic or start growing celery yourself, cutting celery and celeriac — three different forms of celery’s parent species, Apium graveolens. Native to Greece, celery is easy to grow if given a long head start indoors and rich, moist soil.

Celery Types to Try

Stalk celery is the supermarket version most people recognize. Commercial stalk celery is grown by following an intricate regimen of fertilizers and flood irrigation. Even under perfect growing conditions, stalk celery stays in good picking condition for only a few days. If you're growing celery in moist garden soil, stalk celery can be handled as a cut-and-come-again crop — just harvest a few outer stalks at a time.

Cutting celery is like a primitive form of stalk celery. The bushy plants produce numerous small stalks with strong flavor. Established plants are hardy to Zone 5 or 6. Cutting celery that survives winter will bolt in spring and produce heavy crops of edible seeds, and it will reseed itself with slight encouragement.

Celeriac slowly develops a rounded, knobby root that has a crisp texture and mild, nutty flavor. While in the ground, you’ll see thin, celery-like stalks growing from the rounded top of the edible root. Celeriac harvested in fall will store for weeks in a cold root cellar or refrigerator.

12/20/2011 5:35:33 PM

I love celery so much and have grown it wherever I've had a garden. I wish I'd had this article a long time ago, since I learned it all the hard way. The fresh and dried leaves make the best seasoning ever in any kind of soup, stew, and casserole. This year I plan to grow a new heirloom seed for the first time, Amsterdam Seasoning Celery, that I bought from Renee's Garden. It's listed in the herb section (not veggie), since its leaves grow on ultra thin stalks ~ a new adventure in celery this year.

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