Celery is a vegetable that people seem to love or hate. I will admit that it probably isn’t my favourite so until recently I had never grown it on the plot as it wasn’t a priority, however a serious allotmenteer must grow it or be marked down in the annual competitions!
Therefore last year I grew two varieties of self blanching celery. The most successful and certainly the prettiest was the British bred Blush celery which is pretty enough to grow in a potager. We would normally think of celery as being green or maybe yellow however pink varieties have been available since at least 1894.
In the kitchen
Harvest by cutting the base of the plant at soil level. Discard any stalks that are discoloured or marked. Chop the foliage off. This foliage can be chopped as a herb or used with any smaller stalks for stocks, soups or stews.
Blush celery can be eaten raw in salads or with cheese although a personally found it a little tough for that. I like to cook celery by braising in the oven with a little stock or in soups and stews.
Yield and plant health
You should get about 6-8 decent sized stems per plant and a few smaller ones. Mine were rather on the weedy side even when grown on the wettest part of the plot. Plants were healthy other than a bit of slug damage and bolt free.
Celery in the wild is a bog plant so it needs plenty of water and mulch to thrive.
Sow in individual pots, two or three seeds (seeds are tiny) to a pot in March and April under cover in 6 or 9 cm pots. Cover very lightly with sieved compost or vermiculite, water gently but well and cover with a propagator lid or large clear bag to reduce evaporation. Keep at around 10 degrees C or above or you risk early running to seed (bolting).
Once the seedlings are emerging thin to one per pot. Do not allow the pots to dry out.
In May harden seedlings off by placing outside during the day and bringing back in over night. After a week you can plant out in their final positions. You can grow celery in pots but they must not be allowed to dry out at all.
Self blanching celery should be planted 20 cm apart in blocks so plants shade each other to help with the blanching effect. Before planting incorporate large amounts of organic material like well rotted manure or compost. Once planted water in well and mulch with compost and keep well watered..
Slugs can be a problem so watering in a organic nematode based slug killer at the same time as planting can be a good idea.
Harvest from August to November depending on the last frosts. Self blanching celery is not as hardy as trenching celery and should be cut before the frosts. It will store well in a fridge or for a little while in a cool dark place like a garage or shed.