Something is gratifying about biting into a stalk of raw celery with its crunchy texture and turnip-like flavor. And, no soup is complete without tossing in a couple of handfuls of these chopped veggies. Learn how to plant celery in your garden or a sunny indoor windowsill and how to care for it until ready for harvesting.
Celery is not just a tasty snack and meal addition. This popular veggie is low in calories and contains antioxidants and fiber. It’s the perfect vegetable to munch on in-between meals, whether you smother it with peanut butter or dip it in ranch dressing.
Not only is celery healthy and delicious, but it’s also nearly effortless to grow yourself.
Homegrown celery is the best because you know exactly where it came from and how it is grown, especially if you enjoy organic gardening. Fortunately, they are easy to grow from both seeds and scraps.
- Ways to Grow Celery at Home
- What to Know Before Planting Celery
- Planting Celery Seeds Indoors
- How to Plant Celery in the Garden
- How to Grow Celery from Scraps
- Re-Growing Celery in Pots
- Caring for Celery Plants
- Celery Pests and Diseases
- When and How to Harvest Celery Stalks
Ways to Grow Celery at Home
Growing veggies is easier than you think, even if you have limited space, and celery is no exception. Learn how to grow celery indoors and in the garden from seeds and leftovers and put your DIY skills to the test.
What to Know Before Planting Celery
While it’s tempting to grab your celery seeds or celery base and start planting celery, there are a few helpful things to know. It’s important to choose the right store bought celery and seeds to ensure you get good results.
Celery (Apium graveolens) is a biennial marshland plant that grows tall, rigid, and stringy or fibrous stalks that taper into celery leaves. All parts of the plant are edible, depending on the type.
They are delicious eaten raw, and blanching celery for dishes maintains the color and texture. There are three main different types of celery, yellow or self-blanching, green or Pascal, and celeriac.
Green stalk celery is the most common in the United States and the one you often see in your local grocery store. If you decide to plant celery from the base, choose an entire bunch with the base attached since plants do not grow from individual stalks.
Make sure to pick those that are healthy with bright, green leaves. If you choose to grow celery from seeds, read the packet to ensure they grow well in your hardiness zone.
Planting Celery Seeds Indoors
To grow your garden from seed, make sure to start celery indoors in the early spring before the final frost. Doing this gives them a strong head start and helps the plants strengthen before transplanting them outdoors.
Begin the seed growing process about ten to twelve weeks before the last frost. Soak them in a container of water overnight to soften the tough outer shell.
Fill an eight-inch deep pot with seed starting soil and scatter seeds over the top. Cover them with about a quarter-inch of dirt and pat them lightly in place.
Place the container in a sunny windowsill where the temperature is between 60 and 70°F and spray it with water once every other day to keep the soil damp to encourage germination.
After the celery starts are about two-inches tall, it’s time to move them to a new pot or outdoors.
How to Plant Celery in the Garden
After your celery seeds sprout and the weather outside is warming up, it’s time to move your plants outdoors into the garden. Start by hardening them off and then transplant them into a bed. Learn what goes good with celery to take advantage of companion planting.
If you live in a warm spring climate, plant them outdoors in mid to late summer for an early winter harvest. Prepare the garden bed with a mixture of garden soil and organic compost and dig a hole wide and deep enough to easily accommodate the plant’s roots.
Celery plant spacing is essential to prevent the plants from crowding each other, so space each plant eight to ten inches apart.
Set the roots of the celery into the hole and cover it with dirt. Pack it down lightly with your hands, give the entire bed a good watering to help them settle, and water them every day as needed.
How to Grow Celery from Scraps
You purchase a bunch of celery from the grocery store, slice off the stalks to blanch, and go to throw the base into the garbage.
But wait, can you regrow celery? Yes! The celery base is still useful. These chunks of leftover celery are perfect for growing new plants without using celery seeds.
Cut two-inches of the base off the stalks and dry it with a paper towel. Pour warm water into a small container. Stick four toothpicks around the base’s cut perimeter and balance it on the rim of the container so that the bottom sits in the water.
Place the bowl in a window where it receives full sun or use grow lights, and replace the water every other day. In about five to six days, green and yellow leaves emerge from the top, signifying that it’s time to plant the celery in soil.
Re-Growing Celery in Pots
Not everyone has the area to grow a garden, and often feel left out when it comes to growing vegetables. However, some veggies grow quite well in a pot or container, and celery is one of them.
After your celery base soaks in water for about a week and produces small leaves, remove it from the water and pull out the toothpicks. Fill a small pot with potting mix and make a hole in the center that is big enough to accommodate the base.
Set the celery starter in place, cover it with dirt so that only the shoots are visible, and water it before placing it back in a sunny window or moving it outdoors.
Caring for Celery Plants
There are a few steps to take after planting celery seeds to ensure your new plants remain healthy and strong. They require plenty of water, rich soil, and the right amount of sunshine to thrive, as well as some TLC from you.
Celery plants require six to seven hours of full sun daily, so giving them adequate sunshine is necessary for good growth. If your plant is indoors, consider placing a grow light or a fluorescent light near the plant for a couple of hours each day.
Celery loves a moisture retentive soil that is rich with compost, organic matter, or manure, so make sure to prepare your garden bed before planting.
Spread mulch around your outdoor plants after planting to help the ground retain moisture, prevent weeds, and consider spreading coffee grounds to enrich the soil.
Celery needs a lot of water throughout the entire growing season, especially during dry and hot weather.
These plants suffer without enough water. As the stalks grow, tie them together to prevent them from sprawling, and use caution when weeding since celery has shallow roots.
Celery Pests and Diseases
While planting celery seeds is relatively easy, there are times when your plants may struggle. Many diseases and pests cause havoc in the garden, and action is required to prevent further damage.
Aphids are a common problem with celery. Not only do they destroy the plant by munching on it, but they also cause a virus called celery mosaic, leaving the young plants stunted with mottled leaves.
To eradicate aphids, remove them by hand or with paper toweling as soon as you notice them.
Another issue celery deals with is downy mildew. This is a fungal disease where yellow spots appear on the top of leaves with a white growth on the bottom. Crop rotation and not overcrowding your plants are the best cures for this problem.
When and How to Harvest Celery Stalks
Your celery sprouts into a plant, and you wait with anticipation as it grows to maturity. Now is the time you’ve been waiting for, harvesting celery. Here is how to tell when your celery stalks are ready for eating and the best way to harvest them.
Check your plants during the end of the growing season, roughly 140 days after planting them. Once the stalks reach about eight inches tall, use a sharp knife to cut away the outer stalks.
Remove only the outside and allow the inside to continue growing, or slice the entire bunch away to harvest the whole thing. To store celery, place the new stalks in a storage container of water and keep them in the refrigerator. Preserving celery is also easy by pickling, freezing, or dehydrating.
There’s nothing better than munching on fresh veggies, but you don’t always know the process grocery store celery goes through before it ends up on the dinner table.
Fortunately, growing celery at home is easy, whether you grow it from celery seeds or the celery stalk base.
Knowing how to plant celery from seeds and scraps means that you enjoy the benefits of veggies from your very own garden, so why not share our celery growing guide with your circle of friends on Pinterest and Facebook?