Celery and Celeriac

 Celery and celeriac are the same plant (Apium graveolons) with the former (var. graveolons) grown for its stalks and leaves and the latter (var. rapaceum) for its root. We regularly eat celery raw in salads and cooked in dishes such as curry, lasagne, soups, etc but have never tried growing them. Celeriac, on the other hand, is largely unknown to us - I think we've cooked them only once or twice.

Celery and celeriac are marshland plants requiring moist fertile water-retaining soil. They do not appreciate drying out so I decided to try growing them in Large Salad Planters available from Greenhouse Sensation. These planters have a built-in reservoir that feeds water and nutrients to the plants/soil using capillary feeder mats. The water/nutrient reservoirs need topping up on a, roughly, weekly basis depending on local temperatures, wind speeds, humidities and plant/foliage growth. I have used them for a number of years to grow salad leaves, jalopeno and sweet peppers, and aubergines in my polytunnel as they ensure a constant 'on-demand' supply of water and nutrients.  I use a coir-based medium which has excellent water-retaining properties. The large salad planter has a planting area of approx 100 x 50 cm.

Seeds were planted in small coir pots made out of newspaper/toilet rolls and placed in a propagator (20 ℃) with overhead lighting (light needed for germination) in late March/early April. Germination is slow (weeks) and variable. Seedlings were potted on into 7 cm pots and placed outside in early May to harden off. Both celery and celeriac would be grown outside in Salad Planters. Finally, the Salad planters were potted up with celery (left below) and celeriac (right below). Only 10 celeriac plants developed sufficiently for planting out so a few celery plants filled up the end of bed.

Celeriac plants, Greenhouse Sensation, Large Salad Planter
Celery plants, Greenhouse Sensation, Large Salad Planter

The celery was a green self-blanching variety but I don't have a record of the celery or celeriac varieties.

Six weeks later the celery had progressed nicely:

Celery Plants in Large Salad Planter
Celery Plants
And the thinnings were providing the first harvests:

Celeriac was coming on nicely but it would be a couple of months before they were ready for harvesting.

Celeriac was pest-free and harvested from September onwards:

Celery was harvested throughout the summer but did suffer from blight later in the season. Two celery plants (leaves and stalks) were dried in our dehydrater and ground to provide sufficient seasoning for the rest of the year. 

I will be growing both vegetables next year - this time I'll note down the varieties and yields


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