When to Plant Celery Seeds
Celery is a cool season crop, but all seeds need warmth to germinate. In cooler climates start indoors, using a germination mat, at least 8 – 10 weeks before the last frost date for your area. In warmer climates, begin celery seeds in fall during warm weather, and grow through a frost-free winter.
Where to Plant Celery Seeds
Grow celery plants in full sun and in rich garden soil that has plenty of moisture. It’s a good idea to add plenty of compost and mulch around the plants to feed and help retain moisture. Try to keep the plants’ roots moist at all times, and don’t worry about excessive rain – celery tolerates waterlogged soil better than other vegetables.
How to Plant Celery Seeds
Celery seeds are small and tricky to plant. To decrease germination time, soak the seeds overnight in warm water. Sow celery seeds in individual pots or containers, putting as few as possible into each pot. One trick you can use is to mix the celery seeds with sand and then sprinkle the sand/seed mixture over the pots. Cover lightly with soil, with no more than ¼” of soil as celery seeds like to be planted shallowly. After they have germinated and are large enough to thin, remove all but two or three seedlings. As they continue to grow, thin to one per pot or individual cell. Transplant outdoors after the last date for frost in your area and space plants 12” – 18” apart, in rows 2’ – 2 ½’ apart.
How to Care for Celery
Celery plants require plenty of water throughout the entire growing season, especially during hot, dry spells. Stress due to drought will cause the plants to become dry and stringy. Celery plants are hardy though, and inner stalks remain protected from light frosts. If you want your celery to stay more compact, tie the stalks together with string. Celery companion plants include lettuce, spinach, English peas. Avoid pumpkins, cucumbers, squash. *Celery cannot tolerate heat.
How to Harvest Celery
Harvest stalks from the outside in. You may begin harvesting when stalks are about 8 inches tall. Keep in mind that the darker stalks contain more nutrients but are also tougher. Stalk celery can be handled as a cut-and-come-again crop – just harvest a few outer stalks at a time. Cut high, 1 to 2 inches from the ground, when harvesting celery hearts. A new stalk will sprout from the stump left behind. Trim off excess leaves and tough outer stalks before storing celery in the refrigerator.