Native to Europe and Asia, this salad vegetable is grown for its thick, crunchy stalks.
It needs a long period of warmth but not high heat. Plant seeds in flats in early spring; where winters are mild, start in summer for winter crop. (Celery plants started from seed are slow to reach planting size; to save time, you can purchase small nursery plants.) Plant seedlings in rich soil, spacing 6 in. apart in rows 2 ft. apart. Every 2 to 3 weeks, apply liquid fertilizer with irrigation water. To keep plants upright, work some soil up around them as they grow. For whitened stalks, set a bottomless milk carton, tar paper cylinder, or similar device over plants to exclude light from stalks (leaves must have sunlight). Or grow self-blanching varieties.
Use row covers to keep pests off plants.
Harvest 105 to 130 days after transplanting.
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