How To Grow Celeriac
Celeriac is a great tasting vegetable, delicious roasted as chips, turned into soup, or as a flavourful ingredient for casseroles and risottos. It has a taste reminiscent of celery – it is actually a variety of celery – with the sweetness of parsnips. Similar to celery, celeriac is a low calorie vegetable, high in fibre, and with a strong flavour.
A big advantage of growing celeriac rather than celery is that it is easier to grow. Celeriac is a hardy vegetable when it is mature, and can be left on the vegetable patch through autumn and into winter.
How To Grow Celeriac – Sowing
The most difficult part of growing celeriac is the early stage of germination, and growing on the seedlings. Celeriac originates from the mediterranean region, and needs a temperature of around 18o degrees to germinate.
Our solution is to sow the seed in shallow drills in a seed tray in our polytunnel. A plastic greenhouse (in a warm, sunny position) or windowsill are good alternatives.
The seeds need to be planted relatively shallow, a few millimetres below the soil surface. In the picture above we created shallow drills in a seed tray. The ideal time to plant is March and through April.
Even though the seed tray was protected by our polytunnel, we also covered the seed tray with plastic film (pricked with small holes) to help retain moisture and heat. If the seedlings dry out or experience the shock of cold temperatures in late spring, this may lead them to bolt. Like courgettes and squash, they need protection from cold weather until all risk of frost has passed.
How To Grow Celeriac – Care
Although the plants are frost sensitive, it is best to plant them out as soon as it is safe to do so. The longer the growing season, the more time the crowns have to swell to a large size. The crowns should be level with the surface of the soil and not buried.
Celeriac has relative few pests, but can be eaten by slugs and snails.
Whilst the plants are growing, ensure the plants are watered well and that they never dry out. Celeriac enjoys a rich soil. When the crowns (actually a swollen part of the stem) start to mature, it is suggested to remove the sideways growing leaves to focus the plants energy on the crown. Leaves growing directly upwards should be left on the plant.
Celeriac should be available to harvest from September onwards. Celeriac can be left on the plot through autumn and winter and harvested when needed, although some people recommend earthing up the crowns to help protect them from severe cold weather.
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