Celery is an excellent crop which is generally blanched and used as salad. It needs great care and attention, but when it comes into uso in the winter months it is very acceptable. It is sometimes recommended by doctors to people suffering from rheumatic complaints.
The plants like a deep rich and fairly heavy soil, with plenty of moisture. Good drainage is essential.
For the first crop in August, sow thinly in late February on a mild hotbed. Cover the seed lightly with soil and tread firm. Cover the soil with mats at night time. When the seedlings show, a little air may be given when the weather is mild, and with the approach of warmer weather the seedlings may gradually be exposed, but they must be covered at night.
When the plants are 2 inches high they may be planted into the cold frame, Betting them 3 inches apart. Cive as much air as possible, but cover at night.
In March the main crop may be sown on a hotbed similar to that for the first crop. These are treated in the same way as the early crop, except that when the seedlings are planted out they are set 3 inches apart in rows 6 inches apart.
Sow in April for the late crop. These seeds may be sown in the open ground, but in a sheltered position. For this the soil should be rich and light. The seedlings must be given plenty of water at all seasons. When the seedlings are large enough to plant out a sharp spado is run between the rows of plants and a good soaking with water is given.
When lifting the plants from the cold frame great care must be taken not to damage the roots. If the plants are well established part of the larger leaves may be cut off. They will not feel so much shock from transplanting as they would otherwise.
The usual method is to grow celery in trenches containing one or more rows, but it is often grown in single rows. The distance from centre to centre of the row varies from 3-4 feet. When planting out is finished the soil may be levelled up and planted with cauliflower, lettuce, French beans, or some similar crop.
When these crops are finished the celery will be ready to be earthed up. This is done when the plants are about 1 foot high, and on a dry day. Earthing up should be done in sections, the third being the final one and about two weeks after the second operation. All the stems should be well covered, bringing the soil up under the top leaves.
The plants at this stage must not be too moist as decay will set in on the slightest provocation. Also, earth should not be allowed to reach the heart of the plants.
The main points to remember when cultivating celery are: Keep the hoe in constant use, to keep the soil free from weeds.
If the weather is dry water twice a week in plentiful quantities, once a week otherwise.
Remove all suckers as they appear.
The celery fly should be guarded against, but on its appearance the affected part of the leaves must be picked off and burned.
Dust the plants with soot while the dew is still on them. This is distasteful to the fly, but too thick a dressing will harm the plants.
A few varieties worthy of cultivation by the amateur are: Sandringham White; Garden Red; Major Clarkes Red; Wrights Oiant White; Early Rose Red; Aldenham White.