Celery – an allotment crop to fear

Hmmmm … Maurice gave us celery seedlings. Now I do love celery, especially fresh with a good slice of a local sheep’s milk cheese or braised with carrots in a chicken stock topped with cheddar. But ...

...it is supposed to be a b***** to grow.

The first thing my reference books tell me is that rotationally it should be included with potatoes, which rather scotches the idea I’d had of digging up our row of first early spuds and putting the celery in there – but as we have nowhere else to put it, it may be the only option. The second thing that I’m told is that at least I might be getting the timing right for once

I learn that it prefers rich soil, stuffed with organic matter, that will hold moisture but offers good drainage – well, well, well, in other words, the best of all possible worlds; and it does well in wet locations – so far we’ve no idea if we have any wet locations because it hasn’t been wet enough to assess the plot.

Onward! Celery is a heavy feeder and needs plenty of fertiliser for quick growth, says the book – well I’m not sure I want quick growth. I want tasty celery and I’m prepared to wait for it.

Celery will be bitter if it isn't blanched. Ah, but since my book was published in 1972 (the old ones are still the best in many ways) new self-blanching varieties have come onto the market. But which do we have? Answer, we don’t know. So I’ve fired off a quick email to Maurice, to ask, and will await his reply. Blanching is achieved by covering the plants to protect them from the sun. Okay, that I understand. As the plants grow, pile soil up around them to blanch the stems. Maybe so, or maybe just tie brown paper around them, particularly if they are self blanching? I saw that done at the BBC garden at Berryfields and it looked both elegant and much less work than damping soil and making cones around plants. Still I shall have to wait for Maurice to reply. Meantime I shall ponder the wisdom of jumping in at the deep end.

Carrots and celery courtesy of Steffenz

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Saturday, June 14, 2008


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