Celery (Apium graveolens L.)

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Origin 

Celery originated in the Mediterranean region. It was cultivated as a medicinal and ornamental plant in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. In Europe, it was introduced around the 15th century as an aromatic and medicinal plant (the Germans were the first, followed by the French). In the 16th and 17th centuries, leafy and tuberous varieties were developed. In the 16th century, celery began to be cultivated as a vegetable in Italy, and later in France and England.

Consumption 

Celery is a food, herb and medicinal plant. There are 3 varieties of celery grown in kitchen gardens: celeriac (A. graveolens var. Rapaceum (Mill.) DC.), leafy (A. graveolens var. Secalinum Alef.) and deciduous (A. graveolens var. Dulce (Mill.) Pers.). Root celery has a rather thick creeping tuber instead of a branched trunk root. The tuber is used for food and the leaves (green and dried) as a spice. Leaf celery produces dark green leaves rich in essential oil on a ribbed stem, which are used as a spice. Leaf celery has thick petioles which are used as a vegetable and a spice; the petioles are more aromatic than the leaves. The French use a combination of celery, carrots and onions in soups. Celery leaves and tubers are eaten fresh and added to soups, stews and garnishes. Used as a seasoning in canning. They give a pleasant, fresh aroma to food. Mix celery juice with carrot and apple. Celeriac is eaten fresh and is added in sauces and stews. The leaves are used fresh, dried, frozen, salted, dressed with oil in salads, sauces, stews.

Celery
Celery

Nutritional value 

Celery root contains up to 0,1 % of the essential oil asparagine, mucilage, 393 mg % potassium, 50 mg % calcium, 33 mg % magnesium, 27 mg % phosphorus, 0,5 mg % iron, 0,5 mg % iron, sodium salts, 1,8 to 3,4 % sugars, 22,8 % vitamin C, B-vitamins and beta-carotene and 1,1 % protein. 0,27 % oil. The fruit contains 2,5-3,6 % essential oil, about 30 % oil. Celery leaves contain 1,5 times more minerals than tubers and up to 12 times more vitamin C. Celery improves digestion, especially when the acidity of the gastric juice is reduced. The active substances regulate metabolism, stimulate urinary excretion, calm the nerves, elevate the mood, are antiseptic, treat inflammation and relieve laxatives. The essential oil of celery inhibits inflammation. Celery is calorie-free: 31 kcal per 100 g. 

Varieties

Celery has a long growing season: 150 (early varieties) to 180 (late varieties) for tuberous celery, 120-130 for leafy celery and 70-80 days for leafy celery. Root celery ‘Maxim’. Harvest after 145 days. ‘President’. Harvest after 170 days. Leaf celery ‘Malachit’. Harvest after 80-90 days. ‘Nuget. Harvest after 80-90 days. Leaf celery ‘Afina’. Duration of vegetation 63 days.

Location 

An open, well-ventilated and sunny site is suitable.

Soil and substrates 

Celeriac grows best on moderately heavy, friable, loose, sufficiently moist, but not wet, well-tilled loamy soil. Root celery prefers a heavier soil with a pH of 6,2-7,3, while leaf celery and leaf celery prefer a lighter sandy loam soil with a pH of 6-7. Sandy and heavy clay soils are not suitable and this vegetable does not like fresh manure. Compost (2,5-4 kg/m2) should be added to the soil before planting. Pre-prepared all-purpose seedling substrates are suitable for seedlings. Cucumbers, tomatoes and legumes are good starters. Not suitable for parsley, onions and celery. It is advisable to grow next to cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, beetroot, garlic – the strong aroma of celery repels pests. Grow in the same place after 3-4 years.

Nutrient requirements 

The soil must be rich in nutrients.

Celery
Celery

Sowing and planting 

Sowing in boxes in late March/early April. The seeds are very fine and are covered with a layer of sand or substrate no thicker than 1-2 mm. After sowing, the box is covered with glass or polythene film and ventilated daily. The most favorable temperature for germination is 18-22 °C. Germination takes 10-20 days. After germination, the seedlings are cut 5 cm apart after the formation of 2 true leaves and the excessively long roots are shortened. Seeds can be sown less frequently and dense seedlings can be thinned. Grow at a temperature of at least 16 °C, protected from sudden temperature fluctuations and draughts. Hardened seedlings with 5-6 true leaves are planted in the soil in mid-May (after cherry blossom). The seedlings take 50-55 days to germinate. Root celery is planted no deeper than it was in the box – too deep a planting will result in small roots with many lateral roots. Root and leaf celeriac should be planted at 50×50 cm, leaf celeriac at 40×40 cm. 2-3 g seeds per m2.

Plant care 

Seedlings are fertilized with a biological fertilizer containing nitrogen. Fertilizer is applied 3 times: before planting, 14 days after planting and in the second half of June. Celeriac tubers grow larger roots if they receive sufficient boron and potassium. Loosen the soil, if it is dry, and water it abundantly. Most moisture is needed when the tubers are forming and the petioles are thickening. Mulching with straw and fine hay helps to retain soil moisture. In July, the soil around the celery tubers is dug up and the lateral roots are cut off, leaving only the lower roots, and the soil is hoed again and watered.

Pests and diseases 

Slugs, snails, carrot flies, and the celery leafminer are harmful to celery. nematodes, coleoptera, scab, leafhoppers, leafminer. Control measures: crop rotation, do not sow too densely, timely thinning, uprooting of diseased plants.

Yield 

The leaves of celeriac are harvested little by little and the harvest is cut at a height of 5-6 cm in August. The cut leaves regrow quickly and are cut again in October. The leaves are dried, frozen, can be chopped and frozen in ice cubes, or covered with olive oil. The tubers are dug in October. Shake off the soil, cut off the fine roots and leaflets (leaving 1-2 cm stems). Healthy tubers are stored in a cellar covered with sand at a temperature of 0 °C to 1 °C and relative humidity of 95 % to 99 %. They last up to 6 months. Stems of celeriac are placed in polythene bags and stored at 0-1 °C for about 3 months.

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