We update our vegetable catalog with a very interesting vegetable used in gastronomy, known as celery ( Apium graveolens ).
Controversial vegetable where there is due to its high aromatic content that make it exquisite for some and too intense for others. With people who praise it and people who hate it, let’s see how to cultivate it for those who want to.
CELERY, THE AROMATIC VEGETABLE
As I have just mentioned, celery ( Apium graveolens ) belongs to the family of Umbelliferae also called apiaceae, to which carrot, celery-turnip, parsley or fennel also belong.
How could it be otherwise, there are various theories regarding the origin of this vegetable. It is disputed between the swampy areas of Central Europe and West Asia, and others say that it is typically from the Mediterranean area.
In any case, the origin is always attributed to the wild species since the human being has been changing characteristics through selection.
NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES OF CELERY
Celery is widely known for a long list of nutritional properties and beneficial effects on the digestive tract.
The first most outstanding property already mentioned by Greeks is its quality as a diuretic, mainly due to the content of essential oils such as apiol. This essential oil is also found in parsley in large quantities.
If you have heard that parsley in large doses is toxic, it is because of the excess of this component. But as in almost everything, in the dose is the benefit or the harm.
Its nutritional value stands out with its mineral content (P, Ca, Mg, Fe, S, K, Na) and vitamins (A, B, C, E).
In the aromatic part I no longer think. We particularly like it. It is true that the flavor and aroma are very intense (especially raw) and there are people who cannot stand celery.
In legumes it is less noticeable but to those who are not used to it, it will surely continue to seem strong. Matter of taste, as always.
I WANT TO PLANT CELERY IN THE GARDEN. WHAT CARE DOES IT REQUIRE?
LET’S START WITH THE WEATHER
It is a vegetable of temperate climates.
In winter we will forget to plant it in areas of the peninsular interior because the cold induces premature flowering (this is what is known as induction to flowering by vernalization ) and of course with very severe winter colds it will not be able to develop. Above all, the cold should be avoided in the early stages of development.
The minimum indicative temperature for its correct development without the possibility of such flowering will be from 10 ºC.
In the first periods he will need 3 or 4 degrees more than minimum but usually he passes them in the nursery so it is not usually complicated to provide him with no less than those degrees.
Complications of this type can come when direct sowing is done depending on the weather and climates.
The soils that celery prefers are moist , deep (they have a strong root system) and very rich in humus.
It is a demanding crop in nutrients, especially in organic matter , so if you had a previous crop in the space that you are going to allocate for celery, we recommend that you add some mature compost before transplanting.
If you choose to fertilize with manure, you will have to do the manure some time before.
Taking into account that one of the origins is from swampy areas and prefers humid soils, it is clear that water should not be lacking.
With periods of drought, celery suffers a lot, so continuous contributions of water to maintain that humidity are necessary.
Be careful, the extremes are not good.
A moist soil does not mean continuously wet, this term is sometimes confused. If you puddle it, you are lost.
GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS AND USE OF CELERY IN THE GARDEN
Celery can be sown from February-March (in temperate zones) directly in the garden. In colder areas of the interior we will have to wait possibly at the end of March or April in some cases.
If the temperatures are still very cold you can make protected sowings in the nursery and later transplant. It is a plant with a very strong root system and roots very well in transplantation.
In some areas (temperate-warm), a second autumn sowing can be done after the summer heat. This second harvest is said to be better in winter than in spring.
The straw mulch is an ideal system for growing this because it keeps the soil moisture very steadily which is what needs celery. As you can see from the photo, mulch along with exuding watering can be one of the best options to maintain constant humidity.
If you want to bleach the interior celery stalks, you can tie a cardboard around the bush to prevent the entry of sunlight and therefore the creation of chlorophyll, although it will be somewhat less nutritious.
You can divide the plants once the celery is cut to reproduce it.
We are used to buying complete celery plants in stores, but if you have a vegetable garden you will discover that you can remove celery stalks according to the needs of consumption at home.