Growing Celery : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Any advice for growing celery? I tried growing it once, it grew well but tasted bitter. I live in SE Indiana, hot, humid and a lot of draught in recent years. Thanks

-- Cindy (, May 12, 2000


I've made two attempts at growing celery, one definitely unsuccessful, the other so so. It requires a lot of organic matter in the soil and lots of water. It will turn bitter and stringy if it dries out. I also found it seemed to appreciate being in the shade of other plants in the hottest part of the day. Grow it when it's cool too if you can. Even the better of the two attempts was coarser than commercial celery but the flavor was great. I dried most of it, stalks and tops to use in soups and such where the drying and rehydrating would help tenderize it a little.

-- marilyn (, May 12, 2000.

Cindy, celery is one of the toughest crops to grow at home for most of us. Some things I've done to help get a better crop include growing it in a trench (can be slowly filled in for blanched celery-supposed to be more tender and less highly flavored) and having shade cloth over it.

But water is probably the most important thing in growing celery. It needs enough, but not too much. You'll most likely have to water it every other day. Celery is touchy. Let it get too dry from the celery's point of view and you've got a tough, bitter crop. You might want to grow it near the house to make it easy to water.

There are people that claim you can ruin your crop as seedling. Any sort of setback or stress during transplanting or hardening off make it impossible to later harvest a decent crop. As much trouble as I've had with celery over the years, they probably are right. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, May 12, 2000.

I understand that almost any stress will make it turn bitter. This is a survival trait - bitter stops animals grazing it, but bitter costs effort, so it won't do it unless some resource is scarce (i.e. it's stressed). It can get heat-stressed even when it's got plenty of water, if there's too much sun and it's transpiring quicker than it can take up water. Clay soils hold onto water hard, which is another reason to have plenty of organic material.

-- Don Armstrong (, May 12, 2000.

My wife is the celery grower around here. I know we get small bunches but they are tasty. She surrounds the plant with a 1/2 gallon cardboard milk carton and waters it 3 or 4 times a week. She claims this is the only way to grow it here. My soil in the garden is a combination of decomposed leaves, hundred year old dairy pasture and sandy loam in nature. (other words--not the best). The milk carton helps but the stalks only reach about 9 inches high--try it.

-- Joel Rosen (, May 12, 2000.

Instead of trying to grow regular celery, I grow Cutting Celery. (scroll down a bit when you hit the link.) It looks similar to the leafy celery top, and gives you loads of leaves and thin stems. I use it fresh in canning, and dry plenty for later use.

-- Connie (, May 15, 2000.

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