The wild plant grows in marshy, salt impregnated ground in several parts of the world.
The cultivated form needs a long growing season in the North of the UK. Therefore
it is probably best sown with a little heat in cells, then transferred to a cold
frame before being transplanted to the final growing position in May. I always look
forward to eating the inner stems in salads.
Warning. Apparently, some people can develop potentially fatal allergic reactions
to raw celery and even cooked celery.
There are two basic different types of celery available, the so-called self-blanching
type and the trench type of celery.
The self-blanching type of celery is not frost hardy, and even with cloche protection
it does not take much frost to make the leaves and stems turn to mush. It should
be ready in about 6 months from sowing.
The trench type of celery is claimed to be much more hardy, with the stems protected
with cardboard or paper and covered up with soil. It should be ready in about 10
months from sowing.
Sow the seeds in individual cells, with a little heat in February or March and harden
off in a cold frame. Plant out the seedlings about 30 cm apart in May in their final
positions, with cloche protection in case of night frosts. Keep the young plants
well watered especially in dry weather to prevent the stems becoming tough and stringy.
Remember that the wild form of celery grows in marshes, so it likes moisture.
When growing self-blanching celery, plant the seedlings 22 cm apart, in blocks so
that the plants shade each other and aid the blanching process.
If growing the trench type of celery, when planting out the seedlings at 22 cm spacing
in their final positions, place them at the bottom of a 10 cm deep trench. Allow
the young plants to grow till August in the open trench. At this stage, wrap the
stems with cardboard or newspapers. Then infill the trench with soil to below the
height of the cardboard, just leaving the tops showing.
Self-blanching celery. Loretta.
Trench celery. Hopkins Fenlander.
Pests and diseases. Slugs and snails seem to be particularly fond of celery. It is
very bad in the Autumn when the slugs get in between the celery stems and cause a
lot of damage. Try slug pellets to prevent damage. Apparently, carrot fly can cause
damage but I have never seen it.
Storage. Will keep in the fridge crispator for several weeks.