Growing root celery: tips and secrets of the harvest
Celery is a root vegetable rich in vitamins and other nutrients. He is simply obliged to grow in our garden, then to delight us in the winter. Anyone can grow it. To do this, you need to learn the secrets and methods of growing it.
The first and important secret is the ripening time of celery. When buying seeds, you need to choose early maturing varieties. After all, celery fruits will be ripe and ready to eat only 4-7 months after planting. And it is better to grow it with seedlings.
Preparing Root Celery Seeds for Sowing
Capricious celery seeds lose their germination very quickly. Therefore, only freshly harvested seeds need to be planted.
The skin of each seed contains an essential oil that has a protective function. It protects the seeds from many unpleasant moments, but at the same time difficulties arise during their germination. That is why the seeds should not be immediately planted in the soil. First, they must be soaked in warm water and left for 48 hours.
Only germination of seeds can give greater efficiency than soaking. The method is standard for many seeds - in a small bowl you need to put a damp cloth and seeds on it. Until they hatch, you need to maintain humidity and change the water daily (or preferably 3 times a day).
Growing seedlings of root celery
The best period for sowing hatched or wet seeds begins around February 5th and ends in mid-March.
A mixture of sand and vermicompost (in equal proportions) is suitable as a soil. But the best soil mixture would be the following composition: mullein and sod land (one part each), humus (two parts), peat (six parts).
The boxes are filled with the prepared soil mixture and the seeds are sown. Since the seeds are very small, you can make holes for them with a match. One seed is placed in each hole. From above, all the seeds are sprinkled with a five-millimeter layer of soil and covered with a transparent film. The boxes are transferred to a dark and warm room. It is only necessary to moisten the drying soil by spraying. Seedlings will appear in about 7-8 days.
The emerging sprouts need sun, light and heat (about sixteen degrees) for further growth and development. The boxes must be rearranged on the windowsills, and sometimes taken out into the sunlight (on the loggia or balcony). It is impossible to water fragile and delicate seedlings, you can only spray.
The next stage - picking - is carried out when two full-fledged leaves appear on the seedlings. When transferring plants to separate containers, it is necessary to pinch the main root by about a third. The growth point of the seedlings must remain on the surface of the soil.
Before transplanting plants to open beds, you can carry out a couple of dressings. Infusion of chicken manure or a weak manganese solution is applied by spraying.
Planting root celery in the ground
There is no need to hurry up with a transfer - wait for real warm weather. The optimal time is mid-May. In order for the root crop to grow healthy and large, two conditions must be met:
- The distance between seedlings is at least 30 centimeters.
- The growth point must not be deepened.
Planting is best done in the morning, and even better in cloudy weather. On the day of planting, the plants need to be watered abundantly. If there is a risk of a significant nighttime drop in temperature, then each bush of seedlings can be covered with a glass jar or a plastic bottle.
Root celery care and cultivation secrets
Watering is carried out directly under the root, abundantly. The soil should not dry out, keep it constant moisture. From the day of planting seedlings to harvesting, it is necessary to regularly water celery.
Fertilizers and feeding
At each stage of plant development, different feeding is needed. There are four such important stages in total. It is also necessary to feed the plants four times.
The first feeding is necessary for celery for good rooting and rapid growth. It is carried out about seven days after the transfer of seedlings to open ground. At this stage, it is best to use an organic fertilizer, such as herbal infusion.
For such an infusion, it is advisable to use comfrey or nettle, but other herbs are also useful (for example, chamomile, rape, horsetail, and others). Such feeding will give the plants the necessary potassium and nitrogen during this period of development.
The second feeding is carried out two weeks later. Experienced gardeners recommend using infusion of bird droppings or mullein as a natural fertilizer.
The third and fourth feeding is necessary for the plant to enlarge the root crop. Superphosphate fertilizer can be applied around mid-summer. And after a few weeks, feed the celery with a boric acid solution.
Loosening the soil
All plants (or rather their root system), including celery, need good air exchange for high-quality growth. Loosening the soil is one of the simplest ways to provide the plant with the necessary air. Therefore, it is occasionally recommended to loosen the aisles.
Such a celery procedure is categorically contraindicated. As the root crop grows, on the contrary, you need to remove excess land from it. This will contribute to the enlargement of the fetus.
Pruning leaves and lateral roots
When the celery root grows in size, it is recommended to remove excess soil around it. In the process of this procedure, you can find lateral roots that have appeared on the root crop. They must be cut off. Such horizontal roots not only spoil the appearance, but also take away some of the nutrients from the main root.
Celery is a plant for which not only its roots, but also the leafy part are suitable for food. It can be used to make salads. It is better to cut celery leaves in September, when the plant should give all its strength to increasing the size of the root crop. It is recommended to cut only the outer leaves.
Since the ripening period for celery comes late, you will have to harvest the crop with the onset of October. This is one of the last vegetables to close the summer season. Root crops are not afraid of a significant drop in air temperature. They retain their quality characteristics even at low frosts. Even a three-degree frost, they endure with ease.
Probably, many now believe that growing root celery is really not difficult. It is only necessary to strictly observe the main points in the process of caring for this vegetable plant.
Garden and Vegetable Garden: Root celery growing secrets and care
Previously, gardeners cultivated mainly leaf celery. Housewives used it as a spicy herb for salads, first courses, sauces and seasonings. Since green leaves retain their inherent taste, aroma and in a dried form, they were flavored with meat, vegetable, fish dishes and canned food, and dry seeds were added to homemade sausages.
For root celery, the finest hour came when Japanese and Chinese cuisines, as well as spicy Korean salads, became fashionable. And in oriental culinary books, celery is given almost the title role.
Following the prestigious supermarkets, which began to sell celery root crops, gardeners have become keenly interested in this root celery. The business turns out to be profitable!
A quarter of a century ago, I worked at one of the largest greenhouse complexes in Ukraine. In addition to tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, we grew green crops, carrots and root celery (Apple variety) in the greenhouse areas. Knowledge of the biological characteristics of the plant and the experience gained many years ago provide good results today.
What does root celery look like?
The celery root looks like a round and dense root vegetable with an extraordinary aroma and pulp of a bittersweet taste. In diameter, it reaches from 10 to 20 cm. On the lower part of the root crop there are root processes, while above it stems with leaves emanate. At first glance, the root looks like a growth on the bark of a tree. Overall, it looks very exotic. Root-type celery seeds are small in size, resembling carrot seeds, but a few shades darker.
Root celery - varieties
Having an idea of what root celery looks like, you can delve into its varieties, that is, varieties. They differ, first of all, by the timing of the ripening of the crop. So, medium early varieties of root celery:
- "Prague giant"... From the moment of germination to harvest, 120 days pass. Fruits are large, turnip, with delicate pulp, which has a strong aroma and bright taste.
- "Diamond"... The growing season is 150 days. The fruit weighs 200 grams, the flesh is white and retains its color after cooking.
- "Cascade"... Ripening period - 150 days after germination. Root vegetables are round, medium in size, with white flesh that does not change after cooking.
Mid-season celery root - growing and caring for it takes up to 180 days:
- "Strongman"... Harvesting occurs 170 days after germination. By this time, the roots are gaining a mass of 400 grams. They have a rounded shape, their flesh is slightly yellowish, with a bright aroma.
- "Egor"... From the first shoots to full maturation, 180 days pass. Root crops are smooth, round, with gray skin and white flesh.
- "Giant"... Its rounded fruits reach a weight of 700 grams, their skin is light beige, the flesh is white, with a pleasant aroma and sweetish taste.
Late root celery varieties:
- "Anita"... On average, its growing season lasts 160 days. Fruits are oval, weighing up to 400 grams, with light beige skin, snow-white fragrant pulp.
- "Maksim"... The ripening period of root crops is 200 days. Their pulp is dense, creamy white, with a delicate piquant taste. Each fruit weighs 500 grams.
How to care for celery outdoors: growing secrets
Further care for root celery after planting in open ground is reduced to the following simple agrotechnical measures.
The main features (subtleties) of celery care are a necessity loosening, breaking off the lower leaves and trimming the lateral roots.
Root celery, like any root vegetable, loves moisture, so you will need to provide it with regular watering (you can right at the root). In no way should the root crop be allowed to end up in dry ground. Water must always be abundant. If you water it often and little by little, the root crop will have too many superficial roots (it will be bearded).
Advice! To water less often, loosen and control weeds, you can mulch the beds, for example, sawdust or mowed grass (straw).
Root celery is usually fed according to the following scheme:
- At the beginning of growth (after planting seedlings in the ground), celery is better feed with complex fertilizers, in which there are all the necessary macronutrients (you can use various herbal infusions, infusions of chicken manure and mullein, nitroammofosk is suitable from mineral fertilizers).
- And when roots will begin to form it will take more potash-phosphorus fertilizers (for example one can use wood ash, potassium sulfate and superphosphate, potassium monophosphate).
Of course, if you initially carefully prepare the bed and make a really fertile and nutritious soil mixture, then you can do without additional fertilization.
Loosening, "loosening" and trimming the roots
After planting seedlings and before the formation of root crops, you should regularly carry out loosening row spacings after watering and rainsso that a hard earth crust does not form, while you should never you cannot huddle the plants themselves.
On the contrary - as it grows, when the root crop begins to thicken, you will need to start gradually free him from the ground (rake the ground), so to speak, "uncook" so that the top of the celery ends up above the soil surface.
Also recommended trim side roots (be sure to use a sharp knife and be very careful not to damage the root crop) so that they do not grow to the sides, and the root crop does not branch out and grow "without a beard."
After the root crop begins to form, it is worth starting to gradually remove (tear off) the lower leaves from the plant, which will turn slightly yellow and lie horizontally on the ground.
Important! You can remove no more than 2-3 leaves at a time.
Just don't touch the top standing leaves! At the end of the season (by the time of harvesting) there should be at least 6-8 pieces of them.
By removing leaves nutrients will be directed specifically at the formation of the root crop, not green mass.
Advice! The cut side leaves can be used for food (like leaf celery).
Description of celery root
Root celery is a biennial or perennial, about a meter high. Leaves are bright green, dissected, feathery. The stem is branched, the flowers are small, greenish-white, collected in complex-umbellate inflorescences. The root is thickened, large in size.
It usually grows on moist soils, mainly in swamps and salt marshes. Celery is cultivated well in any area, provided there is sufficient soil moisture. It tolerates cold weather very well.
Content of nutrients
Celery root contains vitamins A, C and K. The percentage of vitamin K is the largest. Macro and microelements are present in all parts of the plant. These are phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and iron, as well as copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Nutritional value is not only the root of the plant, but also the leaves with petioles.
Celery is considered an excellent tonic and improves metabolism in the body. It has a beneficial effect on strengthening the nervous system and is a good stress reliever... Helps lower blood pressure. Due to its high iron content, it is a good remedy for anemia. It increases the protective functions of the body and is used as a prophylactic agent for viral infections and colds. An effective remedy in the fight against male potency problems, due to the high content of such a hormone as androsterone. It is no coincidence that the people call it the root of male power. For those wishing to lose weight, it is an indispensable supplement in complex weight loss programs.
Celery root has a strong aroma and a bittersweet taste. All parts of the plant are used as a spice. Fresh celery leaves are added to summer salads and first courses. Dried celery root is used to make sauces and gravies. It gives an exquisite taste to meat, poultry and egg dishes. As a seasoning, he good for vegetable side dishes, especially dishes made from legumes, as well as mushrooms. In home preservation, it is an indispensable spice for pickling cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes.
For those who are interested in how to grow root celery, you should know certain growing rules, without which it is difficult to get a good harvest.
Celery root growing from seeds
One of the frequent questions, especially for novice gardeners, is how to grow celery root from seeds.The plant is not planted in open ground, at least in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and other CIS countries. This is due to the long growing season. If you plant seeds in the ground too early, they will freeze, and if you wait until the soil warms up to the optimum temperature, it will not have time to ripen until late autumn and the onset of frost. This is why the best way to grow root celery is by sowing seedlings.
Seedlings can be planted even in winter, provided that they are in a heated room, where there are no drafts and there is a sunny place or additional lighting. Those who have been growing garden crops for a long time using seedlings use fluorescent lamps for additional lighting in the house, greenhouses or indoor greenhouses.
How to sow seedlings
Cultivation of celery root from seeds begins in mid-December. During this period, you need to sow seedlings in order to dive full sprouts into the ground in the spring. It is not particularly necessary to prepare seedlings, because they are sold already disinfected. To speed up germination, the seeds can be soaked in warm water for 2 days, but at the same time they need to be rinsed and changed every 5 hours.
Root celery seedlings
To grow root celery from seeds, you need to prepare the soil and seedling container. It is better to use boxes, although you can also use single cups. 2 parts of land, 1 part of sand and 1 part of humus are taken as soil. Small indentations are made on the surface (you can use your finger) at a distance of 2.5-3 cm from each other. You can also make common grooves, but plant 2 seeds at a distance. Store the box at a temperature of + 25 ° C, and moisten the soil as it dries.
When the sunrises appear, you need to reduce the temperature regime to + 14 ... + 16 ° С. Sprouts love light, so it is recommended to arrange additional lighting. It is not necessary to water the seedlings at the root, because they are very thin and fragile, so it is better to use a spray bottle. If the seedlings are growing too densely, it must be thinned and the weakest shoots removed.
Preparation for a dive into open ground
Before you can properly grow root celery, you need to prepare the soil.
Transplanting seedlings into open ground
Requirements and rules for preparation:
- For celery, as well as for many root crops, the soil should be neutral in acidity. It is impossible to determine the Ph level by eye. There are several options for this. You can take a soil sample to a laboratory or use a special machine (you can buy it on the Internet). If there is no apparatus, then vinegar will help. In half a glass of 9% vinegar, you need to pour a spoonful of earth. The more it foams, the more acidity. In general, the absence of foam means that the soil is not acidic. To bring it to an approximate neutrality index, lime is added during digging at the rate of 1 glass per m².
- It is important to keep track of predecessors. It is not worth planting celery in the same place for several years in a row. And also bad predecessors will be radish, radish, sorrel, dill. It is best to plant after corn, beans, soybeans, peas, tomatoes, or potatoes. After harvesting crops, in late summer or early autumn, you need to do a deep digging. The soil is poured with herbicides to neutralize the seeds and roots of the weeds. Also for the winter, manure or compost is introduced - humus from leaves, fruit and vegetable peelings.
- The second stage of soil preparation must be done after winter, when the snow melts, the soil will thaw. You don't have to dig up the garden bed, but it is worth loosing. Granular superphosphates are also added. Before picking root celery, the soil needs nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Natural fertilizers are also welcome - manure or chicken droppings.
Before picking, a box with seedlings is taken outside for several days. So the plants will get used to temperature changes and will not get stress during transplantation. You can transplant sprouts to the garden bed when they have at least 2 full-fledged leaves. It is also important that the weather is warm. For the southern regions, this is approximately the beginning of May, for the northern regions - the end. Celery belongs to cold-resistant plants, but return frosts can harm young seedlings.
Celery cultivation is practiced in several ways: seedling and planting ready-made young plants purchased from the store in the ground. Consider these two ways:
- Preparing the material for planting. We choose the variety we need from the above, based on goals and preferences. The preparation of seeds should begin by treating them with a solution of potassium permanganate and placing them in a damp gauze. After a few days, the seeds should sprout. According to the rules, planting is carried out only after the seed has sprouted.
- Preparing the soil. In autumn, the soil should be carefully dug up, thereby giving away weeds and eliminating pests living in the soil. In early March, the soil should be loosened, treated with special nutrient solutions and fertilizers. In the fall, we put humus in the ground in the amount of 5 kg per 1 square meter.
- Let's start landing. If you decide to make seedlings to get young plants, move the prepared seeds with sand. Sowing is carried out on a specially prepared surface in the form of a mixture of soil, peat, sand and compost. At first, cultivation should be carried out in boxes, where the seed is placed in rows at a distance of up to 7 centimeters from each other. The first shoots can be seen not earlier than after 10 days. At the same time, maintain the air temperature between 18 and 20 degrees.
- The seeds have sprung up. Now the temperature can be lowered to 15 degrees and young seedlings can be placed in a well-lit place, where direct sunlight can freely enter. As soon as you notice the appearance of the first leaves, transplant them into separate boxes, trimming the roots a little. In the open ground, planting can be carried out no earlier than May, when the soil surface and the plants themselves are ready.
When to dig up root celery
Root crops are harvested as needed and plant growth.
Root celery is dug up in late September - early October.
Root crops are poorly stored from them. And, if the plant is frozen, then they do not dig it out right away, but wait until it thaws.
When harvesting celery root crops, they drop it in to make it easier to pull it out of the soil. An attempt to pull it out often ends in a breakage of leaves. The crop is shaken out, the leaves are cut off. The roots are also cut off at the bottom of the root crop.