Celery can be grown in home gardens in most parts of the
country at some time during the year. It is a cool-weather crop
and adapted to winter culture in the lower South. In the upper
South and in the North it may be grown either as an early-spring
or as a late-fall crop. Farther north in certain favored
locations it can be grown throughout the summer.
Rich, moist but well-drained, deeply prepared, mellow soil is
essential for celery. Soil varying from sand to clay loam and to
peat may be used as long as these requirements are met. Unless the
ground is very fertile, plenty of organic material, supplemented
by liberal applications of commercial fertilizer, is
For a 100-foot row of celery, 5 pounds of a high-grade complete
fertilizer thoroughly mixed with the soil are none too much.
Prepare the celery row a week or two before setting the plants.
The most common mistake with celery is failure to allow enough
time for growing the plants. About 10 weeks are needed to grow
good celery plants. Celery seed is small and germinates slowly. A
good method is to place the seeds in a muslin bag and soak them
overnight, then mix them with dry sand, distribute them in shallow
trenches in the seed flats or seedbed, and cover them with leaf
mold or similar material to a depth of not more than 1/2-inch.
Keep the bed covered with moist burlap sacks.
Celery plants are very delicate and must be kept free from
weeds. They are made more stocky by being transplanted once before
they are set in the garden, but this practice retards their
growth. When they are to be transplanted before being set in the
ground, the rows in the seed box or seedbed may be only a few
When they are to remain in the box until transplanted to the
garden, however, the plants should be about 2 inches apart each
way. In beds, the rows should be 10 to 12 inches apart, with
seedlings 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart in the row.
For hand culture celery plants are set in rows 18 to 24 inches
apart; for tractor cultivation 30 to 36 inches apart. The plants
are spaced about 6 inches in the row. Double rows are about a foot
apart. Set celery on a cool or cloudy day, if possible; and if the
soil is at all dry, water the plants thoroughly. If the plants are
large, it is best to pinch off the outer leaves 3 or 4 inches from
the base before setting. In bright weather it is well also to
shade the plants for a day or two after they are set.
Small branches bearing green leaves, stuck in the ground,
protect the plants from intense sun without excluding air. As soon
as the plants attain some size, gradually work the soil around
them to keep them upright. Be careful to get no soil into the
hearts of the plants. Early celery is blanched by excluding the
light with boards, paper, drain tiles, or other devices. Late
celery may be blanched also by banking with earth or by storing in
the dark. Banking celery with soil in warm weather causes it to
Late celery may be kept for early-winter use by banking with
earth and covering the tops with leaves or straw to keep them from
freezing, or it may be dug and stored in a cellar or a cold frame,
with the roots well embedded in moist soil. While in storage it
must be kept as cool as possible without freezing.
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