Did you know you can grow another full stalk of celery from the part you normally would remove and throw away? I had heard about it years ago, but had forgotten. Then my friend Amanda reminded me with a link, so I tried it. I have 4 in the garden already and just cut two more. Now, every time we buy celery, I ‘save’ the bottom part.
I did my first cutting in January, put the base into a 1/8″ of water and watched it grow. And grow it did (3″) until all the outside stalks started to rot. Since the garden wasn’t ready, I ended up tossing them. I should have put them into some soil. Planting them in dirt allows the roots to develop; they need more than water alone can give them.
With all the spring-like warmth in late March, I started again and planted them out in the garden soil 3 days later. I did some research and found that:
~ celery is a cool weather crop, so you can place these ‘starts’ out as soon as the soil can be worked
~plants will withstand light frost, but 10 days with nights below 40 and days below 55F can cause bolting
~plants are shallow-rooted and require consistent moisture… lack of water will make the stalks fibrous and bitter
~it can tolerate heavy, poorly-drained soils because it was originally a bog plant
~normally it takes 16 weeks to grow what you see in the store ~ hey, that’s 4 months
When you cut off the bottom 3″ of the base, it is best to sit it in water right then and not let it dry out. Usually, I am cooking and don’t have time to go out to plant something. I think it gets a better start in the water (for up to a week) before setting it out…little roots will start to develop.
Next winter I plan to have a long, narrow planter ready with dirt; every time I buy celery I can plant them and have a dozen or more ready to go into the garden 2 weeks before the last frost date. I have just the spot in a south window.
I use a lot of celery in our cooking, and maybe I can save some on our food bill by re-growing my own through the spring and summer. I have never grown celery before, so I am excited!
When you do finally plant it in your garden, celery likes very fertile soil, so it will appreciate help from your compost pile or fish emulsion, etc. I plan to top the soil up to the cut edges this week and add compost. Something in me is wanting to cover up the icky, decomposing base, but I know it only will add to the fertility of the soil.
I am hoping to be able to cut off a stalk or two at a time and let the main bunch continue to grow. Oh, I forgot! I also did it with the base of a head of Romaine, and it started to grow leaves! It is in the garden, too
”Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Potpourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.” ~Isaiah 61: 11
(Please see the link-ups for the week in my sidebar…Thank you!)