One of the most popular vegetables that are eaten mainly for its leaf stalk is the celery. It finds a lot of use in various culinary preparations and can be grown by anybody indoors and outdoors. The plant belongs to the family Apiaceae and can grow to a height of almost 1 m. There are plenty of types and species or cultivars of celery and some of them are:
- Stalk celery
- Celeriac and
- Cutting celery
Each of the above species also has different varieties under their banner, so to speak. For instance, you will find celeriac varieties such as:
- Brilliant and
Under the umbrella of stalk celery, you will find varieties such as:
- Conquistador and
- Golden self blanching
- Pascal celery
How to grow celery
Normally, the best way to grow celery is by using seeds. You can choose to plant them either in a container or in the garden directly. Ideally, you should choose to plant the seeds indoors and do so around ten weeks before the last frost of the season. Once the frost has passed, you can transplant the seeds outdoors. Another thing that you can do to enhance celery cultivation, is to soak the seeds in a little bit of warm water a few hours prior to planting them.
When you transplant the saplings or the seedlings, be sure to reduce the water that you are pouring for them slightly and then take them outdoors. Keep at least about a foot space between each seedling. Once you have planted them, you can use organic compost or mulch and continue to water them.
Taking care of the celery plant
The one thing that the celery needs is plenty of water. So do be sure that you cater to its requirement whether you planted it indoors or outdoors. An adequate amount of water will also ensure that the celery stalks are large and moist. To help retain as much moisture as possible, you can spread organic compost or mulch all around the plant. The plant does not need too much direct sunlight.
As far as pests are concerned, the celery is vulnerable to nematodes and parsley worms. Handpicking, organic pesticides will help protect the celery plant.
Harvesting and using celery
When the celery is ready to be harvested, you can take a sharp pair of clippers and cut the celery stalks leaving about a couple of inches above the ground. This leftover stock will give rise to some more celery. You can choose to freeze batches of celery or use them as you harvested.
The most popular use of this vegetable is in soups and even as a dried herb. Interestingly, the French use celery as a constituent of their mirepoix which is akin to stock or a base for dishes such as soups and sauces. Celery, onions, and carrots go into the making of this stock.
Celery has plenty of vitamin K and this makes it a very healthy vegetable to have on a daily basis. Apart from its culinary uses it is also a good source of antioxidants and is pretty good for cardiovascular health as well.