Celery Essentials

By National Gardening Association Editors


  • Celery requires about 125 days of a long, relatively cool growing season, for a summer harvest, start plants indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost date.
  • Where the fall climate is mild, try a midsummer seeding in the garden.
  • Some gardeners prefer to blanch celery for a milder taste when eaten raw. If you're pressed for time, try a self-blanching variety.


  • Enrich the soil by tilling in plenty of organic matter and fertilizer to provide a steady supply of nutrients and moisture.


  • Presoak seeds to speed germination, whether you're starting them indoors or sowing directly in the garden.
  • Sow seeds indoors in small pots or flats. Move to individual containers when they are 2 inches tall.
  • In areas with a long growing season sow seeds in the garden at a depth of 1/8 inch in rows 30 to 36 inches apart after soil temperature reaches 60° F.
  • Set out transplants 8 to 10 inches apart in rows 10 inches apart a week or so before your last spring frost date.


  • Thin direct-seeded celery plants to stand 8 to 10 inches apart when they're 4 to 5 inches tall.
  • Apply a heavy layer of mulch immediately after planting and provide a regular supply of water.
  • Celery is a heavy feeder, so side-dress with a liquid fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Blanch varieties that require it when the plants are 12 inches tall.
  • See our article Summer's Bad Guys by Charlie Nardozzi for controls of common celery pests such as earwigs


  • Start harvesting outer stalks when they are 6 to 8 inches tall.
  • Harvest stalks in fall as needed before the ground freezes. Celery can tolerate light frosts.

Other articles in this series:
1. Leaf Crop ABC's
2. The Wide World of Lettuce
3. Planning Your Greens Garden
4. Spinach Varieties
5. Preparing Soil for Greens
6. Growing Head Lettuce
7. Easy Cold Frames
8. Beets and Turnips
9. Cabbage Family Greens
10. Celery Essentials ← you're on this article right now
11. Lettuce Essentials
12. Spinach Essentials

This article is a part of our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Lettuce and Greens / Getting Started.

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