How to Grow Celery Root

Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a root vegetable that is prized for its mild, celery-like flavor and crunchy texture. It is a cool-weather crop that is typically planted in the spring or fall. If you’re interested in growing your own celery root, here’s a guide on how to do it successfully.

Planting Instructions

Celery root prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and a pH between 5.8 and 6.8. Choose a location that gets full sun to partial shade, and plant the seeds about ΒΌ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Thin seedlings to 6-8 inches apart when they reach 2 inches tall.

Watering Requirements

Celery root needs consistent watering to ensure healthy growth. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and water deeply once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Inconsistent watering can lead to tough, woody roots, so it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist.

Fertilizing Tips

Celery root prefers soil that is high in nitrogen and potassium, so you may want to fertilize lightly with a balanced fertilizer at planting time. You can also apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer mid-season to promote healthy foliage growth.

Pest Management

Celery root can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, carrot rust fly, and slugs. To prevent damage, keep the garden clean and weed-free, and remove any damaged leaves or plants. You can also use organic pest control methods such as row covers or companion planting with herbs like thyme or dill.

Disease Management

Celery root can be prone to diseases such as root rot and leaf spot. To prevent these diseases, keep the soil well-drained and avoid overhead watering, which can promote the growth of fungal diseases. Avoid planting celery root in the same location for several years, and practice crop rotation.

Harvesting Instructions

Celery root is ready to harvest when the roots are about 3-4 inches in diameter and the tops have died back. This usually takes 120-150 days from planting. To harvest, use a garden fork or shovel to loosen the soil around the roots, and gently pull them up. Cut off the tops and store the roots in a cool, humid place.

Storage Tips

Celery root can be stored in a cool, humid place for up to 3 months. Remove any dirt or debris before storing, and store in a perforated plastic bag to allow for air circulation.

Recipe Ideas

Celery root is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of recipes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Celery root soup: Simmer diced celery root, onions, garlic, and broth until tender, then puree until smooth. Add cream and season with salt and pepper.
  • Celery root remoulade: Shred celery root and toss with a dressing made from mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and capers.
  • Celery root gratin: Layer sliced celery root with cream, grated cheese, and breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven until bubbly and golden.
  • Celery root and potato mash: Boil peeled and diced celery root and potatoes until tender, then mash with butter, milk, and a pinch of nutmeg.

In conclusion, celery root is a delicious and nutritious root vegetable that is easy to grow in your home garden. With a little bit of care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this flavorful vegetable.