Celery is a biennial plant packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a cool weather crop that requires a rich, moist but well drained soil, preferably with a pH level that is between 6.0 and 6.5. Growing celery requires a lot of patience on the part of the gardener as it takes somewhere between 90 and 120 days to mature, but the results are well worth the effort and wait. Celery can be grown both indoors and outside. Growing celery indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last expected frost will give you a head start on this healthy food you can snack on, or use in soups, salads or other dishes long before it is available in the market.
Step 1: Purchase Seeds and Container
Purchase celery seeds and flat seed starter containers with adequate drainage holes from your local nursery or garden supply center. Make sure the containers are at least 2 ½ to 3-inches deep.
Step 2: Fill Container and Plant Seeds
Put equal amounts of good quality potting mix and sand in a bucket and add some phosphorus-rich organic fertilizer to it. Mix well with a stick and pour into the container.
Sprinkle the delicate seeds into the mix, pressing them gently to ensure good seed to mix contact. Backfill lightly, celery seeds prefer a shallow planting in order to germinate.
Step 3: Seed Care
Use water that is at room temperature to make the soil less mix in the container evenly moist. Celery requires an even temperature of 50 to 60 degrees F to thrive, so place it near a windowsill for filtered sunlight and good air circulation.
Continue watering the container lightly when the potting mix feels dry. Celery seeds will germinate in ten days to two weeks.
Step 4: Transplant Celery Seedlings
When seedlings are an inch tall, transplant them to individual pots that have an 8-inch diameter to encourage them to grow and spread. Add compost to the container along with good quality soil less mix, and carefully place the shallow rooted celery seedling into it. Apply a layer of mulch over the mix in the container to help retain moisture and keep the roots cool. Place the container near a windowsill or in a greenhouse where it can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight.
Step 5: Celery Care
Celery requires a moist soil, so make sure you constantly check the container to keep the mix moist. Avoid overwatering the celery, because it is as harmful as underwatering.
Avoid spraying celery with insecticides if pests such as spider mites or aphids occur, since it is edible. Mix a solution of liquid soap and water in a spray bottle and spray the celery to deter them.
Step 6: Harvesting Celery
For optimal results, do not harvest celery until before it reaches the desirable size, and that takes about 90 to 120 days. Young stalks can be harvested anytime by simply cutting them off carefully without disturbing the remaining plant. Water the celery a day before you harvest it for better flavor.