Rainy days and Sundays always get me down when I can not garden!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Celery, Celery Soup and Growing Celery from Seeds and Stalks

What is tricky to grow, is a heavy feeder,  requires patience and a lot of water, needs temps between 50 and 70 degrees throughout its growing season, is considered a negative caloric  food, can provoke a severe allergy reaction (if allergic), high in vitamin K, and native to Greece?  Of course we are talking about celery!

I attempted to grow celery last year and was unsuccessful.  I hadn't done my research.  But after talking to a fellow gardener, who grows celery with great success, I was encouraged to try it again.    There is a lot of information out there on this topic.   I tried to simply it the best I could.

If you are starting celery from seed, start indoors 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost.  Celery is a slow grower, with a long maturation period (16 weeks).  Soak celery seeds in warm water (4+ hours), to speed up germination.  Place 2 or 3 seeds to a pot and cover lightly with starter soil.  Celery seeds needs light and constant moisture, and takes about 7 to 14 days to germinate.  Plan to transplant celery into the garden 1 to 2 weeks before the last frost date, when plants are about 4 to 6 inches tall.  Harden off  7 to 10 days (and there are 5 to 6 leaves on each plant), prior to transplanting.  Plant in rich, well composted soil with a pH of 5.8 to 6.8.  Keep soil moist throughout the growing season. If temperatures fall below 50 degrees for an extended period of time, celery may bolt (this is where a hoop house would help).  However, celery can handle a lite frost.  Plant celery where it gets about 6 hours of sun daily, but avoid the hottest part of your garden  (or provide a shade cloth).  Use fish emulsion or other organic liquid fertilizer to encourage vigorous growth.

Non-organic, commercially grown celery, ranks high on the list of vegetables contaminated with chemical pesticides.  It may be worth taking on this gardening challenge once more!

A (very) Simple Celery Soup Recipe


2 T olive oil
2 T of butter 
4 cloves of garlic sliced
1 medium onion chopped 
1 baking potatoes chopped
1-2 pounds of celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
sea salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
seasonings such as thyme or basil (to taste)
juice of 1 lemon
half-and-half or cream 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Heat olive oil in a heavy- bottom soup pot on medium heat.  Add onions, garlic,celery, salt, pepper and seasonings and cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until celery is soft.  Add 6 cups of water,  potato and butter. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.The celery and potatoes should be very tender.  Carefully, puree in batches in a blender. (Remove center from lid and cover with a folded dish towel, allowing steam to escape).  Return to pot and add lemon juice and additional seasonings as needed.  Add cream before serving.

Starting Celery from Stalks

I had heard that you could grow celery from the stalks, so I thought I would give it a try. 

Cut celery about 1-2" from its base.

Place cut side up in water for about a week, changing water every couple of days.  Place near a sunny window.

After about a week, I planted them in large peat pots using potting soil.  The centers are starting to grow.   

2 weeks growth.  I used a little fish fertilizer on them today.

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