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Old February 2, 2016   #1
jmsieglaff
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Default Celery Transplanting

Hi,

I'm trying celery for the first time this year. We sowed celery seeds (indoors) at the same time as our onions and will sow another batch about 5-6 weeks later (about mid Feb). The purpose of the two indoor sowing is to see what sowing date yields the most appropriately sized transplants at plant-out time.

For those that start celery from seed--do when do you pot-up the little seedlings into their own pot that will carry them to plant-out size? I'm thinking after they are maybe ~3" tall?

Thanks!
Justin
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Old February 2, 2016   #2
habitat_gardener
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I started celery from seed once, in a 4-inch pot, and planted way too many of the dust-size seeds. Celery is slow, but I potted up in batches when it was iirc a couple inches high -- by then it was getting pretty crowded. I had so many plants that I ended up giving most of them away.

Since then I've let celery go to seed in my gardens, and I always have stray seedlings in my plots and in containers.
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Old February 2, 2016   #3
kath
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Hi,

I'm trying celery for the first time this year. We sowed celery seeds (indoors) at the same time as our onions and will sow another batch about 5-6 weeks later (about mid Feb). The purpose of the two indoor sowing is to see what sowing date yields the most appropriately sized transplants at plant-out time.

For those that start celery from seed--do when do you pot-up the little seedlings into their own pot that will carry them to plant-out size? I'm thinking after they are maybe ~3" tall?

Thanks!
Justin
I initially sow as thinly as I can in 72-cell size containers. I thin to one seedling/cell once a winner is discernible. Once they are a couple inches tall, I check the root systems carefully until it seems they need to be potted up to a larger size container. Not sure how happy their roots are about being disturbed, so I try to keep them as happy as possible. For me, they take 8-10 weeks to reach the size I like to plant outdoors- that doesn't count the rather long time they take to germinate.
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Old February 2, 2016   #4
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Well... one single year experience, I can't give you weeks but it seemed to me if they had no space they just stayed happily small. When I moved them to 72 cell and fed them they took a big jump, when I potted up in solo cups also they seemed to get big in a hurry then stopped except every time i fed some liquid ferts, bang they'd be noticeably bigger within a few days. Heavy feeders. Don't think they need a lot of space to survive or do well, but if the pots are small, liquid ferts will grow them bigger.
If you think they're getting too big too early for your plant date, just keep em moist without fertilizer and they'll just stay as they are until ready.
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Old February 2, 2016   #5
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Well... one single year experience, I can't give you weeks but it seemed to me if they had no space they just stayed happily small. When I moved them to 72 cell and fed them they took a big jump, when I potted up in solo cups also they seemed to get big in a hurry then stopped except every time i fed some liquid ferts, bang they'd be noticeably bigger within a few days. Heavy feeders. Don't think they need a lot of space to survive or do well, but if the pots are small, liquid ferts will grow them bigger.
If you think they're getting too big too early for your plant date, just keep em moist without fertilizer and they'll just stay as they are until ready.
That is exactly how I am or was controlling the growth of my tomato plants.

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Old February 2, 2016   #6
bower
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That is exactly how I am or was controlling the growth of my tomato plants.

Worth
Yep, the only difference is, tomatoes start to look ratty pretty quick if they're out of space and food. The celery seemed to tolerate small space/low light or 'being on hold' really well.
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Old February 2, 2016   #7
jmsieglaff
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. It sounds like celery is fairly forgiving and doesn't mind being potted-up---one key from what I read was just be sure to keep their soil moist. I'll see if the mid January or mid February date works out best for starting seeds.
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Old February 13, 2016   #8
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Does celery bolt in the heat like lettuce? I've also been reading about a type of herb that has a celery type flavor? I'm particularly interested in growing plants this year that are flagged to be heavily doused with pesticide in the supermarkets..
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Old February 13, 2016   #9
bower
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Does celery bolt in the heat like lettuce? I've also been reading about a type of herb that has a celery type flavor? I'm particularly interested in growing plants this year that are flagged to be heavily doused with pesticide in the supermarkets..
According to what I read, celery is at risk of bolting when temperatures drop below 50 F, not in the heat. I was worried about that, but in fact my Utah 52/70 celery was not affected by any of the ups and downs of temperature, and only finally bolted in the second year after over wintering.

The risk to celery in the heat is that it will dry out and become tough / hollow? and bitter - they're best kept in a sheltered spot and feed and water generously kept moist. They seem to tolerate shade really well, so maybe try a shady spot if you are concerned about summer heat. Wind is an issue here so in summer the celery can dry out in the field if there's no shelter and get overly strong tasting or other 'dry' effects - I planted a row for my Mom behind and shaded by her tomatoes, and they were fine there and perfect quality.

The herb that tastes like celery is the Chinese leaf celery or cutting celery "Kin Tsai". Leaves are too bitter to eat raw IMO but the stalks were nice - they are a lot thinner than celery but otherwise very similar. (even crunchy).

I hear you on the pesticide issue, and really I was stoked with the quality of home grown celery in all ways. You can grow celery in a container indoors in winter too, just harvest the outer stalks as needed, and the core will keep on sprouting new ones. This is what we did with our garden celery too, just harvest by the stalks instead of pulling whole plants, and they keep producing. The 52/70 wasn't as tall as the stuff you see in the supermarket so we were pulling a stalk little more than a foot long (cw supermarket stuff close to 2 ft). Delicious, juicy and crisp.
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Old February 13, 2016   #10
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Does celery bolt in the heat like lettuce? I've also been reading about a type of herb that has a celery type flavor? I'm particularly interested in growing plants this year that are flagged to be heavily doused with pesticide in the supermarkets..
I agree with what Bower posted- just wanted to say that I've always staggered celery plantings, starting with an early April plant-out, which means lots of frost and yet I've never seen them bolt. I continue planting through the summer and have celery until the frost and again, I've never had any plants bolt. They've always been dug up in the fall and composted. Varieties I've tried have been: Conquistador, Cutting Celery (yuck- tough, strong skinny little stems), Giant Pascal, Golden Self-Blanching, Utah 52-70, Tango, Victoria, and my favorite for a few years, Ventura.

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Old February 13, 2016   #11
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Indeed it was Kath's advice that got me through my first anxious celery sprouting... thanks again, Kath! We'll be growing celery again this year with a big thumbs up from all who ate it.
Another variety, which my farmer friend likes better than Utah, is Tango. Shorter DTM I think.
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Old February 13, 2016   #12
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Bower, my mother has always called what looks like cilantro - "Kin Tsai" ??? and we do use every part of it in asian cuisine. How very interesting!! I assume you've grown Kin Tsai? Is it prone to bolting? I'm tried of trying to grow cilantro for example...

Kath and Bower, Is there a good way of preserving it? Fresh is no doubt best but is there any way of dehydrating it or freezing it? And all in all, pretty easy to grow too?
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Old February 13, 2016   #13
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Yes I grew the Kin Tsai, and indeed it's noted for Asian cuisine especially Thai. Very easy to grow, but nothing like cilantro, it really tastes like celery (and it is a type of celery, for sure). It also didn't bolt in the first year, but quickly went to seed in the spring after overwintering.

The other herb often said to taste like celery is Lovage - IMO it is very different, you can call it 'similar' but really not very. That is a perennial, also very easy to grow.

Kath may tell you more about preserving celery, I've read you can both freeze and dry it. I actually pulled my plants for the seed very late in the season and dried the seed on the plant. The stalks on the flowering plant are on the woody side and wouldn't be considered good eating fresh, but they sure smell like celery and some of them dried a really nice green, so when i processed the seed I also put away some of the dry sticks to use in bouquet garni. I've used them to flavour soup and seemed to work fine, but of course the stick itself was not edible. I did also powder some of the green sticks and used some in savory muffins, believe it or not... but I can't tell they are there. We used some of the seed on oven roasted potatoes, very nice.
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Old February 13, 2016   #14
kath
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Originally Posted by luigiwu View Post
Bower, my mother has always called what looks like cilantro - "Kin Tsai" ??? and we do use every part of it in asian cuisine. How very interesting!! I assume you've grown Kin Tsai? Is it prone to bolting? I'm tried of trying to grow cilantro for example...

Kath and Bower, Is there a good way of preserving it? Fresh is no doubt best but is there any way of dehydrating it or freezing it? And all in all, pretty easy to grow too?
I've done both but try to keep my freezer for other things. Rehydrated, it's good for all the usual cooked uses. I've only frozen it after sautéing and placing in ice cube trays but decided it was just easier to dehydrate raw slices made with the mandoline.

If you give it the fertility, water and space it needs it's not really hard to grow but maybe more demanding than some veggies. I love to eat it fresh and always have some on hand even when I have to buy it during the winter.
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Old February 13, 2016   #15
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I grew parsley from fall to spring in AZ. It would bolt in spring but it's biennial,like parsley,so I'm not sure how it would do in a one season heat.
I had plenty of volunteers the next season and established a little permanent patch. Loved it and plan to do again here,just haven't had much time.
Love homemade celery and I really liked the cutting celery. Used the leaves like parsley for chicken soups and marinara sauce.
Lovage is something I'm really wanting to try. Should I plant in fall or spring in south central North Carolina?
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