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Celery (Apium graveolens) is a highly nutritious vegetable that belongs to the Apiaceae family. It is commonly used in soups, salads, stews, and as a snack. Celery is a biennial plant that grows up to 30 cm in height and is mostly cultivated for its edible stalks, leaves, and seeds.
Plant morphology: Celery has a cluster of ribs (stalks) that grow from a common base and are typically crunchy and juicy. The stalks are usually light green to dark green in color, while the leaves are dark green with a glossy appearance. The plant produces small white flowers that eventually give way to small, ribbed fruits containing seeds.
Soil and climatic requirements: Celery is a cool-season crop that prefers well-draining, moist soil that is rich in organic matter. It grows best in areas with moderate to high humidity, cool temperatures between 15-21°C (60-70°F), and a long growing season. In areas with hot summers, it can be grown as a fall or winter crop.
Planting type: Celery is typically started from seeds indoors or in a greenhouse, then transplanted into the garden once the seedlings have reached a height of 2-3 inches. It can also be directly sown into the garden, but it may take longer to germinate.
Spacing: Space plants 8-14 inches apart in rows that are spaced 24-36 inches apart.
Depth of sowing: Plant seeds 1/8 inch deep.
Germination period: Celery seeds typically germinate in 10-20 days.
Hours of sunlight required: Celery requires full sun to partial shade.
Watering: Celery requires regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Avoid overhead watering, as this can cause the leaves to rot. Instead, water at the base of the plant.
Harvesting: Celery is usually ready to harvest 3-4 months after planting. It can be harvested by cutting the stalks at the base of the plant or by pulling the entire plant out of the ground.
Companion plants: Celery grows well with onions, garlic, leeks, and tomatoes. Avoid planting it near corn, as it is susceptible to a fungal disease called corn smut.
Pests and diseases: Celery can be affected by a number of pests and diseases, including aphids, slugs, snails, and bacterial leaf spot. It is also susceptible to blight and root rot.