Wild or cultivated, the Western world's culinary history contains many celery stories.
Both Native Americans and colonists used wild celery for varied medicinal and food purposes. Cultivated celery, however, entered mainstream American gardens in full force during the mid nineteenth century.
Its stalky nature serves as a reminder of its placement in the larger carrot or parsley family, Apiaceae. Today, celery and carrots often sit side by side on snack food trays across the country.
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Growing Salad Vegetables
While celery makes it to most kitchen tables for use as an ingredient in soups and salads, its above average growing difficulty means it often gets neglected as a garden vegetable.
Growing celery often translates into an exercise in patience because it takes around four months to grow from seed to table. Additionally, its cold weather nature means that air temperatures should not exceed 75oF during the growing season.
Indoor Seed Germination Tip: As a cool weather vegetable, successful celery seed germination temperature range: 70oF - 80oF. As always, seed strain choice and climactic conditions influence optimal seed germination temperatures.
Soil Conditions: Celery requires healthy, well-drained soil in the pH 6-7 range.
Planting Tips: Germinating the seeds indoors about two months before the last frost kicks off the process. Follow the directions on the seed pack carefully because celery seeds can be finicky. Seed germination can take up to two weeks and is followed by a thinning process.
1c raw chopped celery: 3.1 mg Vitamin C
Men 19+: 90 mg/day suggested
Women 19+: 75 mg/day suggested
Plant Care: Insure the plants get adequate water and fertilizer throughout the growing season. Thinking of celery as a stalk vegetable suggests than any organic fertilizer high in phosphorus will help with stalk development.
At the stalks grow, they can be loosely wrapped in brown paper to keep them together.
Harvesting Tips: Test for table readiness by by cutting one of the outer stalks.
Nature Tip: Celery and other plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae) attract a variety of wasp species, many of which are also beneficial garden insects.
© 2009-2012. Patricia A. Michaels