After a bountiful celery harvest I had a request to write a post about growing celery. This was my first season growing celery and I have learned a lot, but I still have a great deal to learn.
I started by selecting a variety, Tango, that appeared to be “beginner proof”. “Tango performs well under less-than-ideal growing conditions such as heat or moisture stress.” (Johnny’s Selected Seeds webpage) which is why I chose it. I had heard from other gardeners that celery could be difficult to grow. I also knew as I tried for the first time my error was going to be significant.
Celery prefers wet soil that is high in organic matter. I have good to very good organic matter but my concern was keeping the soil watered enough.
Not long after this picture was taken I found the trays had dried out. The plants were close to the grow light and it dried them out faster than I expected. This happened a couple of times. I thought the plants would bolt, go to seed, when I planted them outside but they did not. This year I will do better with this.
They grew slowly compare to the peppers and tomatoes.
I followed Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ advice and slowly allowed them to acclimate to the outside temperatures. I waited until the first days of June to transplant them into the garden beds.
Planting the seedlings six to eight inches apart. I laid soaker hoses at the bases of the plants. Straw was laid over the soaker hoses to slow evaporation.
This summer was particularly dry. I tried to do my best keeping everything water enough. Trying to improve celery watering I used plastic milk jugs with small holes punched in them to slowly water groups of plants. This plan worked mostly well.
The celery overcame l these challenges.
My final harvest.
I think for the first time growing celery it went well. What did I learn?
- There is such a thing as too much celery
- Plan ahead – know what you will do with when you harvest it
- Use black plastic to further slow evaporation
- Harvest more celery – it will likely come back after harvest
- Take time to select the best variety for you
I hope you are encouraged to start growing celery. If I missed covering you question let me know. I feel like I missed something.
Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.