GROW YOUR OWN ORGANIC CELERIAC (TURNIP-ROOTED CELERY)

It is a pity so many view with suspicion any vegetable that is not a familiar object in all greengrocers’ shops. They miss so much. Change is the spice of life, and celeriac is a vegetable to help break the monotony. Also it is worth acquaintance if only for the sake of growing something fresh. Celeriac’s other name – turnip-rooted celery – describes it exactly. But the stalks are not eaten; it is grown for the sake of the swollen lower end, which somewhat resembles a turnip about as large as a fist. This enlarged root is delicious when cooked like beet.

Rich soil is needed, but less labour is involved than in growing celery; deep trenches and earthing up are not required.

There are about 8,ooo seeds to the ounce. Average time for seedlings to appear is about three weeks.

Ready for Use.

October and onwards.

Soil Preparation.

The site should be prepared by deep digging, and vegetable refuse or manure needs to be worked in; plentifully if the ground is light. Plenty of moisture is needed, and the position should be a sunny one.

When and How to Sow.

Earliest plants are obtained by sowing in a greenhouse, with a temperature of about 60 degrees, or in a hotbed frame, during March. Fill a seed box (or boxes) with soil and sifted leaf-mould in equal parts, with sifted sand or sharp grit to keep the mixture porous; firm it in, level it, sow the seed thinly, and cover with ½ in. of fine soil. Cover the box with a sheet of glass, shade it with a sheet of paper, and remove both when the first seedlings appear.

An outdoor sowing may be made in April, in. deep in the seed bed. j Transplanting.

Seedlings in boxes need to be shifted to other boxes, similarly filled, when about 1 in. high, spaced 3 in. apart. Gradually increased exposure to air will harden them off for planting out in May.

Outdoor-raised seedlings should be transplanted in the same way, 3 in. apart, into good soil kept moist, for final planting out in June.

Planting Out.

Set the plants I ft. apart; rows (if more than one) to be 1 ½ ft. apart. Although they need to be in the ground only just deep enough to hold them upright it makes for easier watering if they are planted in hoe-made drills, especially in light and thirsty soil.

Watering, Feeding. The watering can will have to be used frequently in dry weather or the roots will be slow in plumping up. If weak liquid manure can be given every ten days or so the crop will be all the larger. Soot water (a heaped trowelful of soot stirred into a bucket of water) will help.

Lifting, Storing.

The crop is ready for use when the ‘ turnip ‘ ceases to increase in size. The plants may be left in the ground and drawn on as wanted during winter; but if the soil is of a heavy nature and inclined to lie wet the roots are safer in store after November. Twist off the tops and stor° the roots in sifted fire ashes sifted dry soil, beyond the reac of frost and damp – as in a she. or dry cellar.

Preparing for Table.

Scrub the roots and trim them, for cooking as beet. As a vegetable they are tasty and nourishing.

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