Bitter Celery - Knowledgebase Question

San Jose, CA
Question by yosmitty
April 15, 1999
This year we planted celery for the first time. We waited 'till the stalks were at least ten inches long before we harvested. Upon tasting, it was very bitter. Almost too much of a celery taste. What did we do wrong?

Answer from NGA
April 15, 1999


Celery does best in cool weather when nighttime temperatures are around 50F and average daytime temperatures stay between 60F and 70F degrees. Since celery requires these conditions for as long as 5 to 6 months, the optimum planting time is mid to late summer with harvesting in early winter. Prolonged periods of cold temperature during early growth, or excessively high temperatures near maturity will start the formation of a seed stalk. In
southern regions seed or transplant in late fall for harvest during mid-winter. Improper environmental conditions, primarily high temperatures at maturity along with stress conditions such as drought or low fertility can cause off-flavored or bitter celery. For maximum quality celery must be grown under suitable environmental conditions, with a constant level of available moisture.

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