Don’t toss out that celery base! Who knew re-growing celery was all the rage?
I’ve been told you can re-grow celery from the part you normally would remove and throw away. I had heard about it years ago, but had forgotten. Then my friend Amanda reminded me about re-growing celery with a link, so I tried it. I have 4 growing in the garden already and just cut two more. Now, every time we buy celery, I ‘save’ the cut off bottom part.
I did my first cutting in January, put the base into a 1/8″ of water and watched it grow. And grow it did (3″) until all the outside stalks – which was its food source – started to rot. Since the garden wasn’t ready, I ended up tossing them. I should have put them into some soil. Planting them in dirt allows the roots to develop; they need more than water alone can give them.
With all the spring-like warmth in late March, I started again and planted them out in the garden soil 3 days later.
Celery’s Cool Personality
~ celery is a cool weather crop, so you can place these ‘starts’ out as soon as the soil can be worked
~plants will withstand light frost, but 10 days with nights below 40 and days below 55F can cause bolting
~plants are shallow-rooted and require consistent moisture… lack of water will make the stalks fibrous and bitter
~it can tolerate heavy, poorly-drained soils because it was originally a bog plant
~normally it takes 16 weeks to grow what you see in the store ~ hey, that’s 4 months
When you cut off the bottom 3″ of the base, it is best to sit it in water right then and not let it dry out. Usually, I am cooking and don’t have time to go out to plant something. I think it gets a better start in the water (for up to a week) before setting it out…little roots will start to develop.
I use a lot of celery in our cooking, and maybe I can save some on our food bill by re-growing celery through the spring and summer. I have never grown celery before, so I am looking forward to trying it.
Side note: this is what happens to the celery base after 3-4 weeks; as it slowly decomposes, the plant gets its energy to grow the tops. It doesn’t smell. I do keep it in at least an half inch of water and often use old tea to add nutrients to the water. Do not let it ever dry out completely. Celery is really a bog plant and will also need lots of water in the garden.
When you do finally plant it in your garden, celery likes very fertile and WET soil, so it will appreciate help from your compost pile or fish emulsion, etc. Tomorrow I’m going to top the soil up to the cut edges and add compost. Something in me is wanting to cover up the icky, decomposing bases. As they decompose under the soil, they will only add to the fertility of the soil.
I am hoping to be able to cut off a stalk or two at a time and let the main bunch continue to grow.
Oh, I forgot! I also did it with the base of a head of Romaine, and it started to grow leaves! And now it’s in the garden, too.
“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Potpourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.” ~Isaiah 61: 11
Have you ever tried this?
Thanks for reading!