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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
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Frillylily
Feb 12, 2014 11:21 AM CST
I like celery but it kind of pricey and doesn't freeze well and I never use a whole package. Is it hard to grow? and is there a plant, maybe an herb that makes a celery substitute that is easy to grow or that dries well. ?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 12, 2014 11:31 AM CST
My dad used to grow it and I think it's kind of fussy. Needs lot of moisture. I tried celriac last year thinking it would be easier but it never even matured.

Maybe someone else can add more info.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 12, 2014 11:39 AM CST
That's what I was thinking. I think it needs cooler temps too. Here we often go from winter to summer and don't have a cool season, or the cool season is down right cold, or it pours rain and everything rots. The weather doesn't usually start to cooperate until mid May or even June. So cool weather gardens sometimes do great, other times-not so much. I am really hoping to find something easy to grow with a celery like taste for salads, pastas and sage dressing. Maybe even something that would take a freezer. I tried freezing celery and it got really watery and chewy, was basically unusable. Might could have run through the blender and added to soup, but that's about it.

Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 12, 2014 11:48 AM CST
Maybe just freeze the leaves? Or dehydrate? I have more celriac seeds if you want a few to try, but they probably should have been sown already. Like I said, they grew really slowly for me.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 12, 2014 11:52 AM CST
I grew some celery in the garden last year but I bought seedlings. I had tried to start seeds but was not successful. The home grown celery tasted very good but was not as tight as the ones you get in the store. I just cut individual stalks instead of the entire plant.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Feb 12, 2014 1:23 PM CST
Hmm, good idea! My dad used to put the clay tiles used for septic fields around them to blanch them. That probably held them upright and tight. But you could mound up the soil around the base to blanch them too. Just have to wash it a lot more.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 12, 2014 1:25 PM CST
I am just too lazy I guess and can't be bothered. I thought the celery was just fine the way it grew naturally. Really nice for soups and stews.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Feb 12, 2014 2:41 PM CST
frilly, you might like to try growing lovage. It tastes exactly like celery, is much easier to grow, and you can dry/freeze the stems and leaves for winter use. Give it some good space though 'cus under good conditions it might grow five feet or so. Seeds germinate much easier than celery (Rita) so I wonder if you, too, might like to give it a try.

Shoe
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 12, 2014 2:44 PM CST
I still have lots of celery seed left so I might try again this spring. I figure nothing to loose! I don't have room for 5 foot tall lovage. Hilarious!
[Last edited by Newyorkrita - Feb 12, 2014 2:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Feb 12, 2014 2:51 PM CST
I guess you could harvest it before it gets that tall, Rita. Mine never grew that much but maybe that's cus I kept cutting on it. And it grows well in a container, too. Personally, I just love celery more...the crunch, the ability to smother the stalks with peanut butter or cream cheese, chop it up and put it in salads, etc. Yummy! Lovage is good but is best used for seasoning dishes - soups, stews, egg salad, tater salad, etc.

Shoe (Wowing at our snow..and I think it is moving your way, Rita)
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Feb 12, 2014 2:55 PM CST
The snow is definitely coming our way. Not looking forward to it at all.

Thanks but I think I will stick with celery. I love celery in soups and stews, Tastes great to me.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 12, 2014 3:00 PM CST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovage

well at 5 ft and a perennial does it have invasive roots I wonder? I will check into this plant, it may work for what I need! Thank you!
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Feb 12, 2014 3:51 PM CST
I had to dust off the covers of one of my old herbal books, Frilly. It turns out it is hardy to zone 3 so will be a perennial in your area. However, it is also stated that " given fertile soil and sun it will require little care. ...dies back to the ground in winter, returns bigger and stronger but growth tapers off after four years and the plants "hold their own".

Sounds like once established you may have your ongoing celery needs. As for me, I grew mine as an annual and harvested it at only 2 feet tall. I guess it never returned because it was in my veggie garden area which got tilled/plowed back in those day.

HTH.
Shoe
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
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herbie43
Feb 12, 2014 5:34 PM CST
I'm not a big fan of celery but i sometimes put it in soups. I buy it from the supermarket and it seems to last a long time in the fridge.

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frank
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horseshoe
Feb 12, 2014 7:40 PM CST
Howdy, Frank...long time no see.
Hope you are doing well in your new abode..and not suffering from too much snow.

I'm like you, celery will last quite a while in the fridge so it is one of the few veggies I prefer to buy, not grow. Plus in my area it gets pretty hot fast and doesn't grow well in the heat. On the other hand, lovage does great here. I should plant some in a dedicated area for a perennial next time.

Shoe (trudging thru snow and expecting ice over nite. Ugh)
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 13, 2014 11:50 AM CST
I grew celery from seed last year. Not a huge success but did get some individual stalks. Like you said no tight bunches. Heaven knows we have cool enough weather. The cilantro, parsley went nuts.
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Name: Glen Ingram
Macleay Is, Qld, Australia (Zone 12a)
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Gleni
Feb 14, 2014 11:32 PM CST
What is lovage? Never met with it.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 15, 2014 1:22 AM CST
Lovage is a perennial herb, grown for its celery like flavour.
There is also Alexanders Lovage or Black Lovage which also is perennial and gives a celery flavour.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Feb 16, 2014 11:40 PM CST
FrillyLily ~ there is another herb that will substitute for the celery taste and can be eaten raw or used in cooking. That is Par-Cel. It resembles parsley but with the flavor of celery. Like celery, it is a biennual. It will last two seasons, then bolt, bloom and seed. The roots on this plant can be quite healthy. I have watched it wilt down when we have had a hard freeze and later in the day, it shakes off the frost and perks back up. If you are interested in trying some seed, I should have some to spare.

This is my first year growing lovage. Even as a small plant, it doesn't protest the cold so should do well for you. It has a definite celery flavor also.

I will take any extra celery that doesn't get eaten and chunk it and freeze it. Even when frozen, it works well when added to soups or other dishes where it will be cooked.

Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
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david_reaves
Feb 17, 2014 3:10 AM CST
Lily,

Another thing you can do is buy celery when it is on sale, then dry it. I wash it, cut the stalks into one-inch sections, then spread it on dehydrator trays. I have a "square" Nesco deyhdrator with plastic trays that works pretty well. The dehydrated celery will last for months in a ziploc bag in the fridge. The celery can be used for soups, stews, or anything that cooks with excess liquid.

David

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