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planting celery the SQ Ft way

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planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  larthesqfnewbie on 2/25/2012, 11:22 am

Good morning, my first post. Starting my first SQFG. I was wondering how many seeds to plant and if this was a good late spring/summer vege. Didn't see it in Mel's book or on search engine in this forum

thanks again Mel for getting me fired up to your method. I grew up helping my dad in a quarter acre row garden and boy, that was so much work , I never had an interest as an adult Smile
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Re: planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  quiltbea on 2/25/2012, 11:38 am

I just wanted to welcome you to the forum. I can't help you with celery. I always thought it was a lot easier to buy a bunch now and again rather than jump thru all the hoops of growing it myself. I think it needs a longer warm growing period than I have in Maine. I'm sure we have a few that have grown it and they'll surely chime in to let you know.

I'm sure you'll find Mel's way a lot easier than what you remember as a young lad. Once the setup is behind you, its time to reap the benefits and far less labor.
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Re: planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  plantoid on 2/25/2012, 6:23 pm

@larthesqfnewbie wrote:Good morning, my first post. Starting my first SQFG. I was wondering how many seeds to plant and if this was a good late spring/summer vege. Didn't see it in Mel's book or on search engine in this forum

thanks again Mel for getting me fired up to your method. I grew up helping my dad in a quarter acre row garden and boy, that was so much work , I never had an interest as an adult Smile



Hello & welcome.

Do you know what climate zone you are in ?

When I've previously sow celery seeds it was in a see tray directly onto fine seedling growing compost that's has sand and soil in it ... I''ve not used " Mel's Mix " or small vermiculite as yet for this is the first year I'm growing in the " All New Square Foot Garden " way ( Mel Bartholomew's 2006 book edition )

But I will be sowing a dozen or so direct onto a small square tray of 1/2 deep fine vermiculite chips sometime tomorrow .

I've used our kitchen food processor to reduce dampened 1/4 inch chips of vermiculite down to 1/16 of an inch sized ones in readiness for tomorrow .( much cheaper than buying ready made bags of 1/16 inch chips )

Following the same method as for using earth filled trys ... I'll press dampened 1/16 chips down to a depth of 1/2 inch then gently and thinly sprinkle sow the seeds , then slip the tray into a plastic bag . fold over the open end and put it in the warm dark airing cupboard for a few days looking at it on the third day to see if any of the seeds have germinated , as soon as I see that over half of the seeds have sprouted the tray comes out the cupboard and into a cooled bed room , the bag is removed .



The seedlings will be like little squiggles of yellowish green thick cotton thread & be intermingled with each other .. After a week or so with gentle watering using room temp rain water ( NOT TAP ) the seedlings will be about 2 inches long & they get the second set of tiny leaves . . very carefully untease them one at a time from the tangle and quickly pot them off into three inch pots , water each pot don't crush the stem of the plant ..just slip it into a hole you have made with a pencil and water it in to fill the hole up as soon as it is planted up , for the plants are very delicate and don't suffer much abuse at this stage of development .

Grow them on to four inches high in the potting compost keeping then watered with room temp rain water . Once the plants get to 6 inches high plant them out . start to harden them off in readiness for planting out on your last frost date ..if a frost is forecast , cover them with a fleece or old bed sheettill the frost breaks and it starts to warm up .

Here on site someone recently gave a novel way of using a standard 6 inch deep bed of MM and making squarefoot risers to grow the plant to greater heights by slipping a 6 inch deep lift over the growing plant , filling it with MM to just below the leaves , carrying on with additional lifts as you grow the plant to take the lifts to 18 inches high not including the plant tops .

That would make traditional earthing up redundant which was /is hard work , but I feel they will need to be correctly watered from the bed level and from above in the risers on hot days early in the morning before the suns heat gets the risers hot & dries out the celery plants
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hilling up celery?

Post  curio on 2/25/2012, 7:05 pm

Are you saying you need to hill celery up all the way to the leaves? If not I sure read your post incorrectly. Does this have a benefit other than blanching? Any drawbacks?
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Re: planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  plantoid on 2/25/2012, 7:31 pm

Yes sort of ..

I never got on with unblanched celery in strong sunlight for it was awlays dark green ,bitter and very strong . The stalks were a bit leathery , chewy and a fraction of the thickness of the " hilled up " celery i used to grow.

Using the lifts on a bed of MM filling with MM as it grows just makes the blanching (earthing up / hilling up) easier & should allow you to get inch and a quarter thick stalks as well as a decent sized bunch off each plant that will fill your hand ( hence the name " a hand of celery " )

Most of the shop ( usually imported ) celery we get here in the UK is grown hydroponicaly and whilst full of water , fairly thick and a light green/yellow is rather bland & tastes nothing like celery grown on manured ground that's been earthed up .

Thats why I'm growing it this year in the ANSFG's and using lifts..
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re hilling up celery

Post  curio on 2/25/2012, 7:40 pm

Thanks... I wondered why our celery last year wasn't quite like what we were getting at the stores. Since I use it primarily in cooking, we didn't notice it being bitter or strong, but it makes sense it would be. Looks like I'll be building more of those risers...hahaha.
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thanks from the gallery which is 6a central KY USA

Post  larthesqfnewbie on 2/26/2012, 5:05 pm

Thank you so much for your reply.
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Re: planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  Chopper on 2/27/2012, 1:00 am

I wonder if coffee cans with the bottoms removed would work in SFG for hilling up around celery?

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Re: planting celery the SQ Ft way

Post  plantoid on 2/27/2012, 7:20 am

Possibly.... but then it would be coffee can gardening not " All New Square Foot Gardening " Laughing Wink

Seriously I do see that it might make for problems using cans .

See if this makes any sense :-

Growing celery and most plants is a nice gentle continous event , nothing is worse than giving the plants a shock of too much heat or not enough water .

If it is hot the thin can wall will transmit heat to the mix and thus the plant , using wood will tend to give some insulation .

Using a can would tend to give sudden temperature fluctuations as clouds cover the sun with wood lifts this would be a much gentler change in temperature .

Depending on what the can is made of ......steel ...will it go rusty & affect the plants ......plastic will it put toxins in the bed and eventually the plant if it gets hot enough ?

Using a can may cause water problems where as the wood like earth will be able to breathe and also take on moisture aiding the capilary action of the water in the MM .

I think a can could actually cause the water to condense on the cooler shaded side of the can wall and make an uneven level of moisture in the mix , it might even set up a thermal cycle in the moisture which may of may not be useful to the plant .

Would the difference in volume of MM the round can reduce the amount of MM in lifts so much so as to affect the plant ?

I tried to grow celery down pieces of new nine inch by 4 inch diameter foul water pipes , I weas trying to grow them in blocks of 24 tubes on a ver5y deep well manured & fertilized soil bed .. it was a total failure for the plants did'nt get enough sun on them when they were deep down the tube.

I came to the conclusion that earthing/blanching needed to be donw in small stages ,for one year I waited till the plants were a foot tall before putting tubes over them but by now they had gone bitter and tough they never recovered other than a bit of colour change .

Cans ..how high would a lift be ? With wood I can make my lifts in three , four , five inch heights and thus easily " earth up " in small stages as the plant grows without having a plant several inches down inside an empty steel/ plastic tube if 'd have used a can .

This empty can /tube space will tend to hold very hot air when it is exposed to full sun for a couple of hours and may cook the plants as celery seems to do very well on a moderate temperature .



What will you do if the celery pokes its head nine inches above the cans height ? With wood lifts I can add another two lifts & still have growing room .

Old Uncle jacks celery was nearly two feet long by 24 th december , he could not get his hands round the dug up plant as it was usually eight or more inches across .



One thing that has just crossed my mind is that the feeding base area of his celery plants was two feet across and 18 inches between plants . I wonder If I'll need to allow more footprint space for my " Mammoth 's " that I started off last night in vermiculite?
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spacing?

Post  curio on 3/14/2012, 9:01 am

I was wondering if planting two of the "non mammoth" celery would be possible in the SFG? We have two varieties seeded and growing well enough to be up-potted last week. One is a red stem and the other a green. If it looks like I'll need to give each one its own square, I guess I should only plant one of the varieties (would be the red one).
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