Does Celery Grow Underground?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 04/24/22 •  6 min read

Does Celery Grow Underground? Celery is a vegetable that is often used in salads to add that little bit of crunch and texture. However, if you have not grown celery yourself in the garden you may be wondering is it grown above ground or below?

Celery is a plant that is grown above ground though one of the common practices to improve the quality of the stalks that is implemented is to blanch celery a couple of weeks before it is picked. Blanching involves excluding light from the storks which can be done by either wrapping newspaper around plants or piling up soil around its stalks

However, even this practice does not fully cover the plant in soil as the tops of the plants are usually exposed because they do need light to continue to grow and photosynthesize. Additionally, this method of blanching is not generally recommended because dirt can get into the crevices of the plant making it gritty.

Why Is Celery Blanched?

Celery is blanched because it improves the flavor of the plant making it milder and generally less bitter.  Additionally, the color of the stalks is significantly lighter as a result of the blanching.  

In terms of when to blanch the celery, most people recommend anywhere between 10 days and 3 weeks before the storks are due to be picked. As mentioned above the most common method is either to use newspaper to wrap around the storks leaving the foliage exposed at the top or alternatively using cardboard juice boxes with the base removed. These can be placed over the storks protecting them for that short period of time.

Is Celery Easy To Grow?

Celery is among the most challenging vegetables to grow in the garden because it has limited tolerance to cold and hot temperatures. This is made more difficult as it has a long growing season which means growing celery is challenging. Because of these difficulties, many gardeners avoid growing this plant as the flavor that you get from it is not a lot different from what you can purchase from the supermarket.

How To Grow Celery

To successfully grow celery you need to start the seeds extremely early in the season in most regions because in most places the climate will transition from too cold to too hot too quickly. As such we recommend that you plant celery seeds approximately 8 to 10 weeks prior to the first frost.

In most locations, this will necessitate the need to use a heated propagation tray to ensure that the plant has sufficient warmth to get going in the depth of winter. If you are considering purchasing a heated seed propagation tray the one we would recommend is the ipower germination kit which features a removable seed tray and humidity dome.

The removable seed tray is important as this is the part of the unit that most commonly deteriorates first, so being able to replace it will substantially extend the life of the unit. The humidity dome is another important feature as it helps to maintain consistent temperature and humidity which is ideal for growing seedlings. To see the latest price on  Amazon click on the link below.

Get Off To An Early Start With A Heated Propagation Tray

How To Plant Celery Seeds

To start for celery seeds off filling a seed tray with a good quality seed raising mix. When filling the tray and ensure that you firm the soil into the cells to form a solid plug. This is important as it will make transplanting the seedlings in the garden easier later on.

Once the soil is in the seed tray it is recommended that you plant 2 to 3 seeds per tray to ensure that at least one germinates in each cell. The seeds should be planted at a depth of approximately 1 quarter of an inch before watering the seeds. During the germination period, the seedlings need to be kept constantly moist so it is important to water seed trays regularly.

The celery seeds are generally slow to germinate and can take as long as 3 to 4 weeks before they appear, however, this is highly dependent upon the conditions in which they are grown. The seedlings will need to spend typically up to 8 to 10 weeks in the seed tray before they are ready to be planted out into the garden because they are extremely slow-growing. 

Planting Celery Seedlings Out Into The Garden

As mentioned above celery seedlings are sensitive to temperature and therefore should not be planted out into the garden until the temperatures reach approximately 50F (10C). The plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart in a warm sunny location. However, if you live in a region that gets relatively warm it is advisable to ensure that the celery is shielded from the hottest parts of the day as they do not like to be too hot.

In terms of soil conditions, celery plants prefer slightly acidic soil that is rich, moist, and free-draining with plenty of nutrients. As such it is advisable to add a bag of compost to the soil before you plant the seedlings out into the garden.

Throughout the period of growing the celery, it is critically important to ensure that the plants are watered regularly as without a consistent supply of moisture the celery plants can become extremely stringy and inedible. 

Harvesting Celery

As mentioned above celery should be blanched approximately two to three weeks prior to when you expect to pick the storks. Storks can be picked at any stage once they reach a reasonable size. It is also possible to take only a few stalks out of time rather than cut the entire plant out of the garden. Doing this will extend the harvest for a couple of weeks, however, if the celery is left too long it will start to deteriorate.

I hope you found this article useful and have great success growing your celery plants at home. If you have any additional questions or comments please leave them in the section below

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Paul Smart