Celery is one of the most familiar vegetables in the western diet, adding depth to soups, crunch to a salad and a palate cleanser to spicy foods.
Celery is certainly an odd looking plant, with its clustered stems rising stiff and vertically up to a small patch of leaves.
Homegrown celery done right is crisp and more flavorful than typical store-bought varieties. Some varieties can be a little tricky, having to be blanched in order to achieve the right texture. The process of doing that is described in the growing section.
Celery is a marshland plant and is naturally cosmopolitan all around the world. Wild celery can grow to be as large as one meter in height. It's cultivars likely originated in the mediterranean region, where it has been grown for thousands of years.
Celery has been grown everywhere from the mediterranean to the Alps. There are a few signicant forms, the tall stalk variety typically just called "celery." "Celeriac" is a variety that has a heavy bulb which is often used for stews. There is also a leafy variety that is treated as a leafy herb.
How to Grow Celery
Celery is a cool season vegetable. It is best started in late summer, capturing the last days of warm to moderate soil. As it matures, it should only experience cooler to develop a proper flavor and texture. However, if it is exposed to too much cold, it may bolt.
Celery can take up to 120 days to mature, which is why it makes sense to start indoors.
Celery is a marshland plant. It prefers a lot of water and rich soil.
It is possible to re-grow celery from the bottom part that you don't eat. Simply cut it off, stick some toothpicks in it to give it some height, and place it in a bowl of water. Leave it by a windowsill, replacing the water every couple of days to make sure it is always moist and has clean water. In about a week it will grow roots and be ready to be planted in soil. This typically only works once per plant.
Some celery needs to be blanched as it is growing. Unless it is self-blanching, once the celery has grown a few inches, add additional soil to cover the lower couple of inches.
Celery can be a slow growing plant. You want to be sure to let it grow to at least 6 inches, maybe longer depending on the variety you are growing. Make sure to harvest it before it bolts.
You can harvest celery only a few stalks at a time if you wish. This can help prolong its life, keeping the unused parts of the plant fresher for longer.