How to Grow Celery
Instructions for Growing Celery
in Your Vegetable Garden
Celery is a biennial and a member of the carrot family. This vegetable is a tight collection of green stalks reaching up to 10” tall. Stalks, leaves, and seeds are edible.
Note: Celery is not one of the easier vegetables to grow though, as it requires a fair amount of attention and space.
Gardening Tip for Growing Celery- Growing Celery with other garden vegetables (like tomatoes and cabbage) helps them all grow better. See companion planting.
Dietary Fiber, Vitamin K, C, A, B6, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus.
Growing celery is best in mild or cool weather. It will not grow well in cold climates.
Celery tolerates light shade and wet weather.
Alkaline or neutral soil is needed for growing celery. The soil pH should be 5.8 to 6.5.
Mixing lime into your garden bed will reduce the soil's acidity. (See - testing your garden soil's pH level.)
For best growing conditions, prepare the soil with well-rotted animal manure, compost, and/or a complete fertilizer.
Plant the celery seed directly into the garden bed, once temperatures are consistently over 55 degrees (F). (the seed won't germinate well below this temperature).
Gardening Tip for Growing Celery - It is not unusual for large quantities of the seed to NOT germinate well, so be sure to use fresh seeds.
Sow the seed very shallowly (about 1/10” deep) in the garden and cover with light soil. It's important to keep the soil moist during the 3 week germination period.
Note: For faster germination, try soaking the celery seed in room-tempeture water for 1-2 days. Plant at once.
For an earlier start to growing celery, start the seeds indoors up to 12 weeks before planting out of doors. Be sure to harden the plants before transplanting out in the garden.
Once seedlings reach 6" tall, thin them to 10” apart with 18” between rows. (Seedlings can be used for flavoring soups.)
Keep the roots moist by mounding soil around the young plants.
When growing celery, water frequently, keeping the soil moist (not soggy). During dry weather, be sure to water daily. Lack of water causes celery to grow slowly and makes the stalks stringy.
Celery is a shallow rooted plant, so fertilize often to ensure healthy growth. After the celery seedlings are well and established, apply a side dressing of a nitrogen rich fertilizer every three weeks.
Stringy stalks: the celery wasn't watered frequently enough during dry spells.
Dead spots on the leaves: that’s most likely a fungal disease known as leaf spot or septoria. Also, plant disease is often caused by a shortage of magnesium or calcium in the garden soil.
Gardening Tip for Growing Celery - Practice good vegetable gardening by rotating your crops within your garden space with each new season. This will prevent many plant diseases.
Growing celery takes about 5 months to mature. To harvest, cut the whole plant at ground level, before the seed stalks appear.
You can also just harvest a little here and there as needed from your garden, by breaking off the outside stems as needed and letting the rest of the plant continue to grow.
Celery harvested late in the season can be kept for use in the fall and winter with the following methods:
In climates where the winters are not as extensive, pile garden soil up around the plant and cover the top with straw. Dig out when you’re ready to use.
In climates where the ground freezes, dig up the whole celery plant (roots and all). Place in a cold frame or a cool cellar. Keep the roots in moist (but not wet) soil. Pack loosely to allow air circulation. The cellar must be cool and moist, with a temperature of about 35/40 degrees (F).
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.