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Growing Celery in Containers

March 13th, 2009 by Veggie Master · 7 Comments

Celery growing requires a good amount of sun – at least six hours a day.  If it’s morning and afternoon sun with a shady break around noon, so much the better.   A good way to increase light to the plants is to place your container near a white wall.  Light-colored mulch such as white stones will also reflect more light onto the leaves.

Choose a container which is at least 8 inches deep and large enough to space the celery plants 10 inches apart.  Don’t use an unglazed clay pot because it will dry out too quickly.  Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom.  Fill the container with half soilless planting mix, half compost and a small amount of hard organic fertilizer.  Mix well and water with a weak solution of  fish and seaweed emulsion,  Let settle for an hour.  If necessary, top off with more moistened soil mix to leave 2 inches of headroom for mulch.

Celery plants should be firmed in well and watered with the fish and seaweed.  Apply mulch to a depth of 2 inches.  Make sure night temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees or the plants will bolt (go to seed).  Celery is a real water-lover and will yield tough stalks if it dries out.  It may be necessary to water twice a day during heat spells.  If you can’t keep a close eye on your celery, then consider installing drip irrigation controlled by a timer.

The easiest way to grow celery is to buy transplants.  If you decide to raise it from seed start ten weeks before you want to plant it outside.  Celery requires light for germination, so press the seeds gently into the surface of the wet planting medium.  I cover the pot with plastic wrap until the seeds sprout to prevent drying out.  When the plants have at least two sets of true leaves, harden them off over a period of a few days by putting them outside a little longer each day then plant them outside in your container.  Be sure not to expose them to temperatures below fifty degrees because this will trigger bolting (going to flower) later in the season.

'Tango' celery from Johnny's Selected Seeds

Celery is a heavy feeder.  Watering every two weeks with fish and seaweed emulsion should keep it growing strong.  If the season is very rainy and watering is not an option, pull back the mulch and sprinkle on some high-nitrogen, dry organic fertilizer.  The rain will wash it into the soil.

If you would like to blanch the celery stalks, slice a cardboard milk carton down the side and wrap it around the plant to shade it as it grows.  But remember, green stalks have more nutrients.  If they’re too stringy for fresh eating, I simply freeze the chopped celery in plastic bags and use it for home made chicken soup all winter long – delish!

Source:  Johnny’s Selected Seeds

7 Comments so far ↓

  • Veggie Master

    Celery does need plenty of water, but make sure there are holes in the bottom of the bottle or it will drown. Good luck, David, let us know how they do!

  • David

    I am trying for the very first time to grow celery in plastic lemonade bottles with the tops cut off…I’ve only tried to grow celery once before and it wasn’t very successful as I didn’t realise how much they need water. I hope this works.

  • Veggie Master

    You’re very welcome, Maria. Are you a gardener?

  • maria

    thanks for the advice on growing celery

  • Veggie Master

    Thanks, Guy, for some very good ideas. To translate for our American visitors – 300mm is 12″ deep and 12mm is about 1/2″ pipe. I’m not sure what cockies are, but if I had to guess I would say snails. I’ll bet you grow some great veggies with your system!

  • Guy Milton

    Hi,
    Re container growing, I use polystyrene tomato
    boxes 300mm deep. Using gas heat up a12mm piece of scrap copper pipe and perforate bottom of container to provide numerous drain holes, place fly wire in container over drain holes to keep out slugs and cockies, place container on wooden battens to allow water to drain. Fill with good quality potting mix but allow for 50mm of mulch.
    Cheers -Guy from S.Australia.

  • OrganicJim

    When talking about container gardening many overlook the use of hanging baskets to grow vegetables. I grow many things in hanging baskets like tomatoes by growing them out the bottom of the basket and letting them hang down. Tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and many other thing grow well out of the sides and bottom of baskets. Many times I will grow herbs or flowers in the top of the basket that work to to keep insects away. Looks great and can provide a lot of produce in a small area.

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