Celery Stubs, Practical Gardening Fun

Celery is part of nearly every day in my kitchen. It gets chopped in most cooking, filled with Gorgonzola dolce or peanut butter, dipped in cheesy horseradish spread, or just snacked on with a little salt.

I’ve grown celery from plants bought from a local greenhouse and never been satisfied with the results. The other day visiting my neighbor Karen, who has rebuilt since their fire, excitedly brought me round the back of the house to show off a container garden. In an old, leaky 18 gallon galvanized tub filled with potting mix she had planted stubs of celery (and romaine) and they were growing!

I had heard of doing this replanting thing and knew produce from grocery stores were treated with chemicals to prevent “sprouting” so doubted a productive outcome. Karen had proof, then and there, and told me of her sister’s success last year being the best celery she’d ever tasted.

Home I went willing to try with the packaged organic celery bought last week. Here is what the internet had to offer:

Celery prefers cool temperatures and constant moisture. It will not tolerate heat and toughens if it dries out. The soil needs to be fertile, with lots of organic matter. Choose a site where the plants will be protected from afternoon sun. Cut about 2-3” up from end so that the center heart of the celery is still intact. Set the root end in a saucer of tepid water overnight. The next morning, or late afternoon after the heat of the day, plant in a shallow hole filled with water, stalk side up, so that the edges of stalks are even with the soil. In about three days you’ll see new leaves (my picture is proof!). As with any new planting, keep moist—not soggy—until plant is established. Keep in mind even moisture throughout its growing season, which is long.

To get those long, less bitter stalks, you can use newspaper loosely tied around the stalks or clean recycled cartons.

I’m pretty excited to taste what comes of it all!

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