The following content is all about Growing Celery leafy vegetable.
Introduction to Growing Celery
Wild Celery is a crop native to the British isles and growing in marshes across temperate Europe especially near the sea. The wild celery was pungent and bitter and it is used for medicinal purposes by Greeks and Romans 2000 years ago. Many varieties used now are derived from the wild celery and by 1600’s the use of celery as a food crop began. It is a biennial crop and starts producing seed in the second season. The plant has no true stem, in the first year the plant grows storing its food in the root and in the enlarged succulent basal leaves. Stalks and leaves for the edible part. Celery seeds are also used for flavoring salads, soups, and more commonly for producing essential oils. The plant grows erect up to 60 to 120 cm tall with a aroma from its white flowers. Plants roots are succulent with numerous lateral roots. Stems are branched, jointed and light green in color with leaves growing up to 8 to 18 cm long and in oblong shape. Celery seeds are very small, oval shaped with greenish brown color. Celery can be grown in polyhouse, greenhouse and backyards as well.
Scientific / Botanical name of Celery
Botanical name of celery is Apiumgraveolens and comes from the Apiaceae family. The vegetable plant is also aromatic flowering plant and a part of Umbelliferae family or group.
Celery in Indian Languages
Gujarati – કચુંબરનીવનસ્પતિ(Kacumbaranīvanaspati).
Malayalam – മുള്ളങ്കി(muḷḷaṅki).
Tamil – செலரி(Celari).
Kannada – ಸೆಲರಿ(Selari).
Telugu –ఆకుకూరల (Ākukūrala).
Hindi –अजवायन (ajavaayan).
Bangla – সেলারি(Sēlāri).
Marathi -अजमोदा (ओवा) (Ajamōdā (ōvā).
Punjabi – ਅਜਵਾਇਨ(Ajavā’ina).
Celery Varieties / Celery Cultivars
In India the commercial varieties recommended for commercial cultivation includes EC-99249-1 and PRL-85-1. The crop will be ready for harvest in six months with a high yield of 20 quintals of seeds/ha.
The other popular varieties recommended by IARI include Giant Pascal, Emperor of Jeen and Golden Self blanching.
Climate and Soil Requirement for Growing Celery
Celery is a cool season growing crop. Climatic conditions directly impact upon the production of celery crop. Celery grows best with high yield in cool bright sunshine regions, pure air with humid conditions and well distributed rainfall or under proper irrigation.The suitable temperature for the plants to emerge would be 21° to 24° C and 18° to 24° C for established plants for steady growth.
Soils suited to Growing Celery include rich, mellow, sandy loam with plenty of leaf mold or compost. In commercial growing any fertile, friable, sandy loam, well-drained soil is preferable. Celery thrives best in soils with pH 6.0 to 6.8.Soils with pH less than 4 should apply dolomite 2.5 tonne per hectare. Celery can be grown in other wide range of soils while may not yield optimum.
Land Preparation in Growing Celery
Land must be thoroughly plowed 4-5 weeks before planting. The surface of the land should be cut with a disk or cutting harrow to pulverize the soil to a depth of 15 to 20 cm few days before planting. Apply 25 to 30 tonne per hectare of well-rotted farm yard manure in the last plow. Along with farm yard manure for an hectare land apply five tonne each of bio compost and vermi compost, 10 kilogram each of Metarizium, Phosphobacteria, Azhospirillum, and Mycorhiza root internal fungus, and 1.25 tonne of neem cake should be applied. Prepare a mix of 75 grams of composted cow manure along with 1.5 kilogram of cow dung herbal manure in 40 litre of water and spray across the field.
Propagation in Growing Celery
Celery can be propagated either by seeds and transplanting seedlings from nursery.
Seed rate and Treatment in Growing Celery
1.25 kilogram of celery seed is required to grow in a hectare land. An area of 100 square foot nursery is required in raising seedlings for a hectare land. For an early germination and to resist soil borne diseases, soak the seeds in 3% panchagavya solution and dry it in a shade before sowing. Use three year old seed to protect from leaf blight disease or can be treated with hot water.
Sowing and Spacing in Growing Celery
Germination of seed takes long time. It is recommended to sow seeds in nursery beds and transplanted to main land. Celery seeds are sown in prepared beds from July to September. Seedling takes four to six weeks to come out and thinned to 1.3 cm apart. Seedlings will be ready for transplant to the main field by about 60 days. Young seedlings are planted with 15 to 20 cm spacing in rows 60 to 100 cm apart. The other way to plant is in paired rows 20 cm apart with 60 to 100 cm between pairs.
Irrigation in Growing Celery
Irrigation can be carried out by sprinkler or drip or flooding. There is a high risk for foliage disease in sprinkler system, drip irrigation is recommendable. Irrigation must be consistent and regular in the growing season.
Manures and Fertilizers in Growing Celery
Soil nutrients must be available at the top soil as celery is a shallow rooted crop. Celery is a heavy feeder. 30tonneper hectare farm yard manure is given at the final plow of the field. For best production and plant growth, fertilizer application is given based on soil nutrient lab test. Along with manure and compost 100 to 150 Kilogram per hectare of Nitrogen in three splits, Phosphrouspentoxide, and Potassium oxide. A basal dose of one third of N with P and K at 40 to 60 kilogram per hectare must be given along with micronutrients.
Weed Control in Growing Celery
Controlling weed includes crop rotation, to allow weed germination by irrigating land before planting, eradicate weed before they produce seed. Weeds can also be controlled with 2 to 3 hand hoeing without damaging the plant shallow roots.
Growing Celery Hydroponically
Celery adds texture, flavor and crunch in a healthy snack at the kitchen table. It is a rich source of vitamins and fiber. The other benefit includes helps in digestion and cleans teeth. With so many benefits in celery vegetable, it can be grown in your home. Yes, Celery can be grown soilless, that means growing celery hydroponically.
Plant seeds in plugs or nursery beds. Thin out the weak sprouts and transplant healthier seedlings to hydroponic cups in the hydroponic reservoir. Choose a hydroponic reservoir size according to the garden comfort in the home or that can fit the kitchen window. An air pump in the reservoir keeps the water oxygenated. Add water soluble nutrients as prescribed to the water volume in the reservoir. The transplanted seedlings in the cups start growing with roots absorbing oxygen and nutrients from the nutrient solution.
Another way quick way to grow celery hydroponically is by reusing celery stalks. Cut the base of the celery stalk and place it in the hydroponic cups. In due time the plant starts regrowth. Your home garden is ready with celery plants growing healthily by hydroponics.
Growing Celery in Terrace Garden
Celery is an easy to grow plant for your terrace garden. Take a container of 18 to 20 cm depth. Fill the container half way with potting mix. Plant a seedling in the center of the container or pot; add more soil mix around the young plant below the top of the pot. Celery grown in containers allows you to move the plant to your terrace garden or backyard garden making an excellent container garden.
Pests and Diseases in Growing Celery
- Damping Off (fungi) causes young seedlings to topple. To control the disease sterilize the soil before transplanting. Seeds should be treated with fungicide before sowing. Avoid over watering and crowded seedling at the nursery.
- Leaf Blight (fungi) is commonly caused either by Cercospora or Septoria fungi. The disease is spread by wind, farming tools, workers movement in the field. Yellow spots turning to ash grey on leaves caused by Cercospora while yellowish specks later turning yellowish gray caused by Septoria fungi. To control the seed and soil borne disease is by treating seeds with hot water before sowing or by using three old seeds. Use registered fungicide by spraying on 5 cm tall seedlings and continue throughout the season on weekly basis.
- Pink Rot (fungi) will cause plants to wilt and topple. The symptoms include watery, pinkish rot of crown and petioles. Wet foliage is more prone to the disease caused by Sclerotinia, a white mold later develop into hard black pea sized fungal structures. To control avoid clover, soybeans, carrots, beans, lettuce and cole crops for crop rotation as the risk of disease is high. Expose soil under sun after harvest by deep plow.
- Aphids are tiny insects found beneath the leaves. The leaves turn discolored and wrinkled as these soft-bodied insects feed and suck sap from the leaves. Infected plants are controlled by a strong spray of water and for serious infestations, insecticidal soap or neem oil must be used.
- Leaf spot is a plant disease which starts as small spots with yellow halos on young leaves. Upon maturing they turn tan or light grey. In severe conditions the leaves will die. To control leaf spot disease, foliar spray of 5% Manchurian tea filtrates thrice in a month after sowing and another dose after one month. Another way is to foliar spray of 3% Dasagavya from first month after planting and thereafter with 10days interval.
Harvesting in Growing Celery
Celery is harvested before it is fully grown and when the plant reaches marketable size. Celery can be harvested any time from 100 to 130 days after transplanting or when the plant reaches to 20 cm height. Cut the celery stalks below ground level and before packing trim off the outer leaves.
Yield in Growing Celery
With good farming skills, cultivars, and favorable growing conditions a farmer can expect 30 to 45 tonne per hectare.
Marketing of Celery
Harvested celery should not be allowed to lie exposed to sun or wind. Usually there is huge demand for green cultivars than yellow or blanched cultivars. The market demand is high as it can be used as salad vegetable in the kitchen and its seeds for essential oils. The crop has high demand in both retail and wholesale market. It can also be marketed directly in the retail or local market or through marketing agency.
Tips in Growing Celery
- Celery is a heavy feeder and required lots of water.
- Plant stalks will dry and small in poor water supply and maintain constant soil moisture levels.
- Add plenty of organic manure and compost for nutrients and to retain soil moisture.
- Fertilize on a regular intervals.
- To avoid sprawling, tie celery stalks while growing.