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How to grow celeriac

You will need

Celeriac seeds

Seed tray

Good quality compost, such as John Innes no.1

Heated propagator

Capillary matting

Small pots

Pencil or dibber

Bulky organic matter

Fork

Do it: March to June
At its best: late September onwards

Overview

Celeriac has an unusual flavour, a cross between celery, fennel and aniseed. It can be eaten raw, grated into a winter salad or used as a crudite, or cooked, mashed or roasted. The edible part is the swollen root.

Celeriac is not particularly difficult to grow but it does take a long time to mature, taking up space on the veg plot. The seed is generally more expensive than other veg and germination can be patchy. However with a bit of patience (and a few extra seeds) you will soon have a few sturdy plants.

Celeriac grows well in heavy soils and is a good choice if you're looking for a crop that thrives in poor summers.


How to do it

sow celeriac

1

A half seed tray filled with good-quality compost is perfect for germinating celeriac seed. Sprinkle the seed lightly in shallow drills, then lightly cover with compost.


celeriac propagator

2

Water gently, then place the tray in a heated propagator at 10-12°C. Ensure the compost remains moist; a layer of capillary matting beneath the seed tray can act as a reservoir.


celeriac seedlings

3

Once the seedlings are large enough to handle easily, transplant each into its own pot of compost, firm and water well.


plant out celeriac

4

Plant out the plants when they are 5-7cm tall. Space them 25-30cm apart in rows 30-45cm apart. Do not bury the crowns. Water well during dry periods or on lighter soils. To retain moisture it's worth applying a bulky, organic mulch straight after planting, making sure it is kept clear of the swelling roots.


harvest celeriac

5

Celeriac should be ready to harvest from late September onwards, but a more intense flavour develops if left in the ground longer. You may need to use a fork to gently lift out each root.




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow celeriac
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artjak 27/02/2014 at 19:02

I'm growing celeriac for the first time this year as I love making celeriac remoulade. Seeing the photos in the 'how to do it' article makes me wonder; can one eat the leaves also as if it were celery?

Dovefromabove 27/02/2014 at 19:22

Hi artjak  yes the leaves are edible - they're really good for flavouring stocks and soups - their flavour is pretty strong, stronger than ordinary celery, so you don't need may of them to add flavour. 

artjak 27/02/2014 at 19:27

Dove, I've been growing celery for the last couple of years and found the flavour of home grown almost eye-wateringly strong, but v. useful in cooking. I just don't have the space for both veg so growing celeriac gives me, I hope, the best of both worlds.

BobTheGardener 27/02/2014 at 22:06

I still have about a dozen celeriac growing, artjak.  They do need a long season - with the late start last year the roots weren't big enough to pull until Christmas!  I'm going to start them off a bit earlier this year, weather permitting..  I'll pull one or two this weekend and post photo's.  They are lovely roasted but an absolute pain to prepare - the useful part of the root is completely covered in small roots which, in my clay soil, really hold on to the soil so cleaning is more like slicing through the roots/mud until the 'outer heart' is reached.  Not a lot was left after that in my case!  They seemed to grow completely pest-free though!