Growing celery is not an easy task because celery plants are susceptible to both cold and heat. The best way to grow celery is in a container because you can move it around and keep it within the correct temperature range. The following tips will help you grow celery in a container:
An 8 inch pot is a good size for planting celery. If you would like to grow more than one plant per container, choose a container at least 8 inches deep and long enough to plant the celery plants 10 inches apart. Avoid using unglazed clay pots because they tend to dry the soil out quicker.
The Best Soil
Celery should be planted in alkaline soil with pH levels of 6.0 to 6.5. Add limestone to your soil to cut back on the acidity. Celery prefers moist soil which can be helped along by adding organic compost like manure to your soil.
Sunlight and Temperature Requirements
Celery should receive about 6 hours of sunlight a day. However, the temperature should be cool, but should never drop below 55 degrees. Keep day time temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees and night time temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees.
Planting and Growing Time
Celery plants take 4 to 5 months to mature. If growing from seed, plant several weeks before the last frost. Germination takes about 2 weeks. If you are growing in an area that gets much hotter than 75 degrees in mid-summer, then plant seeds indoors. You can move outside in the later summer or fall as the temperatures cool.
Seeds should be sown very shallow; cover with 1/10 inch of soil. Sow about 5 seeds in one 8 inch pot with about 2 inches between seeds. After sprouting, thin out the smallest half. After they have reached about 3 inches thin out to one plant per pot.
Watering and Feeding
Celery requires much watering to keep the stalks from becoming dry and stringy. Soil should be kept moist at all times. A good fertilizer is also important since slow growth will turn the stalks tough and bitter. Use an organic fertilizer of fish emulsion or seaweed extract or another liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks.
If you would like to transplant from your container to the garden, wait until your celery plants are 5 inches tall. Begin hardening your plants a couple weeks before by placing the containers outdoors during the day and bringing them in at night. Once your celery 1 foot, it is ready to be harvested.
You can plant and enjoy this crunchy, delicious and zero-calorie snack that can help add flavor and texture to soups and salads.