Celeriac has an unusual flavour, a cross between celery, fennel and aniseed. The edible part is the swollen root.
Celeriac is not 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. Here’s how to grow it.
You Will Need
- Celeriac seed
- Seed trays or modules
- Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
- Capillary matting
- Small pots
- Pencil or dibber
- Organic matter
- Garden fork
Sow in spring into a seed tray filled with good-quality compost. Sprinkle the seed lightly in shallow drills, then lightly cover with compost.
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.
Once the seedlings are large enough to handle easily, transplant each into its own pot of compost, firm and water well.
Plant out the plants in late spring, 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.
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.
How to enjoy celeriac
Celeriac can be eaten raw, grated into a winter salad or used as a crudite. It can also be mashed or roasted.