Add organic fertilizer or compost to the soil prior to planting. Start your seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. You can also plant them in late summer. For faster germination, soak seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting. Celery seeds like to be planted shallowly.
Once the celery seeds have sprouted and are large enough, either thin the seedlings or prick them out to their own pots. Harden off seedlings before transplanting by reducing water slightly, and keeping them outdoors for a couple hours a day.
After a week of hardening, transplant seedlings 10 to 12 inches apart, direct sow seeds ¼ inch deep. Start thinning to 12 inches apart when they reach about six inches high.
When to Water
Provide at least 1 inch of water a week. Give your plants plenty of water. If celery does not get enough water, or a hot spell hits, the stalks get tough and stringy. Make sure to provide plenty of water during the entire growing season, especially during hot days.
Celery will tolerate a light frost, but not consecutive frosts.
Diseases: Pink rot, black heart, and blight can attack celery. Make sure there is adequate magnesium and calcium in the soil to discourage these diseases. Pests: Celery usually encounters no serious pest problems but can be attacked by celery leaf miner and slugs.
The top soil needs to be moist with plenty of nutrients, because celery has shallow roots, 6 to 8" away from the plant, and only 2 to 3" deep.
Celery plant can reach a height of 8-14 inches .Take that into consideration when planning your garden. Make sure there is enough distance between your tall vegetables and short vegetables. That way both will get enough sun light.
When celery gets big enough to eat, start harvesting the larger, outer stalks first. The center will keep producing stalks.
Celery plants like mild temperatures and don't like hot weather at all. The crop will do best only where the winters are mild, or where the summers are relatively cool, or where there's a long, cool growing period in the fall.
Fertilize regularly. Add mulch as needed, to help retain soil moisture and add nutrients.
Celery is a long-season crop that can be tricky to grow. It likes fertile soil, cool temperatures, and constant moisture. It will not tolerate heat and can be hard to transplant. Summer crops in the north and winter crops in the south make celery a year-round producer.
Because a celery plant has such a long maturity time, unless you live in a location with long growing seasons, you need to start celery seeds indoors at least 8 – 10 weeks before the last frost date for your area.
Commercial, non-organic celery continuously ranks near the top of the list of vegetables known to carry chemical residues, with some samples tainted with more than 60 pesticides. That’s a great reason to buy organic or start growing celery yourself.
Celery plants need full sun but they will be fine if they get a bit of shade in the day.
Celery plants are friendly to most other plants. So you should not worry about incompatibles.
The following vegetables will do well when planted next to celery: Asparagus, Brussels, Cabbage, Celery, Dill, Eggplant, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Radishes, Strawberries, Tomatoes. Planting certain vegetables next to each other can deter insects and encourage growth.
Next year, DO NOT plant carrot, celery, fennel, dill, parsley, parsnip, cumin, coriander/cilantro, caraway in the same location where you planted celery this year. Because they are all members of the Umbelliferae family. Instead use that spot to plant other vegetables from a different family such as:
- Allium (Amaryllidaceae) - onions, garlic, leeks, shallots and chives.
- Legume (Leguminosae): peas, beans, lentils
- Mustard/Brassica (Cruciferae): broccoli, caulifower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes.
- Sunflower (Compositae): lettuce, artichokes.
- Cucurbit (Cucurbitaceae): pumpkins, melons, squash, gourds, cucumbers.
- Nightshade (Solanaceae): tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers
- Goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae): spinach, Swiss chard, beets.
Growing Celery Overview
In General, celery plants can be grown with no problems if they get a long period of mild temperatures and a soil full of nutrients. For more planting information, please visit our Farming Tips homepage.