Horticulture: Growing Celery Take 2

This post was last updated on 7/2/2020.

After take 1 failed massively, we tried again with a couple of new celery stalks. I realise now that I probably should have planted my trial 1 on 22nd May when it’d already started to grow roots but the stalk hadn’t yet begun to mould. You live and you learn.

We bought two more stalks of celery and after eating most of one we decided to try again. This was the organic celery from Trader Joe’s. So far it seems to be a lot more successful. Check back for updates!

12th June

I thought the toothpicks in the celery may have been causing it to rot so this time I tried to tie it up with string instead:

Jacky asked why we couldn’t just put the celery into the glass with water at the bottom? I thought I read that it would cause the celery to rot, so to confirm this I did some more research and watched a video about growing celery (probs should have done that first). The video advised to cut a little off the bottom of the celery before putting it in water, and that it needn’t be suspended by toothpicks.

Jacky also said that since the celery just grows from the middle anyway, can we just put the thus-far uneaten centre of our celery stalk into water and see how it goes?

Sure, why not. Let’s test it:

We’ll call them Shortie and Tall Bro. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

I also trimmed a little off the bottom of the Tall Bro. Presumably doing this removes the hardened layer from the bottom so that the celery can better absorb the water and its nutrients.

13th June

Trimming off the bottom makes a huge difference apparently, because within a day Shortie had grown to the size that previously took 9-10 days:

And Tall Bro had also perked right up:

They had both just been sitting on my kitchen counter with minimal natural light, but a fair amount of artificial light from the dining room light.

15th June

Both celeries are doing well, though we moved Shortie to a different container as it was starting to expand outwards and was looking a little squished in its original pot.

Shortie started growing little leaves, but you could also see that it was starting to rot on one of the ribs. I should have cut out the rotting parts at this point but I was lazy and didn’t.

Tall Bro‘s inner ribs had started to grow up, good for it!

17th June

Shortie needed emergency surgery after its rib was fully rotten. The other side of it seemed fine, but last time my celery rot this badly it spread to the rest of the celery and we had to throw it away.

Jacky had to cut out all the ribs on the outside of the rotten one and finally chop off the rotten rib. Tall Bro was doing fine.

Then we realised that the rotting was probably caused by water getting onto the celery when we’re changing out the water, so after said surgery, Jacky poured out the water, dried Shortie well and then filled it with just enough water to cover the bottom of the celery without letting water get into the centre of stalk itself.

I was wondering if I should plant it already, but it hadn’t grown any roots yet and I didn’t want to plant too early.

24th June

Check it out! Both Shortie and Tall Bro are doing well. Tall Bro‘s centre ribs have grown out, and Shortie is growing well after surgery. They’ve both even started to grow a liiiittle tiny root from the side.

It’ll be time to plant them soon. I need to find a suitable container for them and will probably keep them indoors. We’ve still got a bit of a gnat problem with my plants outside so I don’t want my celery getting infested as well.

27th June

They’ve both been growing so well! Shortie‘s roots are pretty long and developed now so I didn’t want to delay planting him any longer.

He’s been growing up so well since his emergency surgery. I read that celery roots don’t really grow that long or deep so you shouldn’t wait too long to plant them as they need a lot of nutrients. So…

Into the pot he goes. I dusted off the dirt on his leaves and also gently brushed off some excess water on him in case it makes him rot, though, I feel like it shouldn’t since otherwise all celery would rot when they’re outside getting rained on. But I can never be too careful.

Tall Bro‘s roots have also been coming along so I decided to plant him as well. I trimmed off some of his broken/dying leaves and he’s been growing strong and healthy.

I didn’t have any suitable pots left to plant him in so I actually just grabbed one of our many plastic containers from food deliveries, and poked holes out the bottom with a screwdriver:

It worked surprisingly well. And great re-use of disposable plastic containers, methinks. The crack/split was when I ingeniously tried to slam the screwdriver through it with a hammer. Don’t do that, folks. Gently pushing the screwdriver in worked just fine.

The drainage holes have done their job wonderfully and I’m using the lid of the takeout container to catch the drainage water.

Well… I don’t know if this will work or if I’ve planted them too shallow, but we’ll see. If they grow bigger and outgrow the pot I’ll transplant them!

30th June

I read that celery is a fickle plant. It requires a lot of fertiliser to grow, a lot of space and a constant supply of water in its soil but make sure you do not over-water it or it’ll die.

Tall Bro hasn’t been doing well unfortunately. Its leaves are yellowing and browning and I wasn’t sure why, so I thought it might be because there aren’t enough nutrients in its soil, so I put some fertiliser in both pots just in case Shortie starts having problems too. You can kind of see how yellow he’s getting from the photo of him below:

Poor Tall Bro. Here’s a comparison of him and Shortie next to one another:

Gah… hope he survives.

2nd July

Jacky is sad that Tall Bro‘s condition has been worsening daily, so to try and save Tall Bro, Jacky moved him closer to the balcony in hopes he’ll do better with more natural light. I, however, suspect it’s not a light issue since Shortie is growing just fine.

Tall Bro‘s outer ribs had basically turned entirely yellow and its leaves were browning quite a bit, so I gave him a haircut and now he looks much healthier:

The haircut is just so that the poor plant doesn’t keep trying to pour more energy into treating the dying ribs. However, as I was giving him his haircut I noticed… you guessed it: gnats crawling around. ARGH. I wonder if that’s why he’s been wilting.

Jacky suspects that there were dormant gnat eggs in the soil, and watering the soil activated them. Given how gnats have started to appear out of nowhere and all of this soil is new from the package, I suspect that may be true. I purchased some pest control tape and can’t wait for it to arrive.

Shortie continues to grow well. Jacky joked that Shortie became Tall Bro after his haircut, but I assured him Tall Bro is still taller. I also accidentally called Shortie “Small Bro” today and am considering re-naming him.

— Bobbie

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