Don’t toss out that ‘unusable’ celery base! Who knew re-growing celery could be done or that it was so much fun?
I have 4 beginning to grow in the garden already and just cut two more. Now, every time we buy celery, I ‘save’ the cut-off bottom portion.
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 really 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 55° F can cause bolting
- Plants are shallow-rooted and require consistent moisture… lack of water will make the stalks fibrous and bitter
- Celery 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 and have fun doing it! I have never grown celery before, so I am looking forward to trying it.
Side note: after 3-4 weeks, the celery base slowly decomposes, and the plant gets its energy from it to grow the tops. It does not 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.
Re-Growing to Plant It Outside
If and 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 add to the healthy fertility of the soil.
I am hoping to be able to cut off a stalk or two at a time (yeah, they will be shorter) and let the main bunch continue to grow.
Now I’m starting a head of Romaine!
Have you ever tried this?
“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