Celeriac or turnip-rooted
celery is popular on the Continent but has never
found favour in Britain. All the major seed suppliers
offer their own variety, but there isn’t
much difference between them. In each case a knobbly,
swollen stem-base is produced, about 4-5in (10-12cm)
across, with a distinct celery flavour. The catalogues
will tempt you with its ease compared to the ever-popular
celery – no earthing-up, no bolting, little
danger from pests or diseases and good storage
properties. But it really isn’t a vegetable
for everyone – you will have to raise your
own seedlings as very few garden centres offer
them, and you must provide rich, moisture-retentive
soil and plenty of water in dry weather.
Expected germination time: 12-18 days
Expected yield from a 10ft row: 7lb (3.5kg)
Life expectancy of stored seed: 5 years.
Approximate time between sowing and lifting: 30-35
Ease of cultivation: Rather difficult –
good soil preparation, regular watering and de-leafing
· Fertile, moisture-retentive soil is essential.
Pick a reasonably sunny spot and dig in autumn.
Incorporate as much manure or compost as you can.
· About a week before planting apply a
Sowing and Planting
· Raise seedlings under glass in early
spring. Plant 2 seeds in a compost-filled peat
pot – remove weaker seedling. Harden off
before planting outdoors.
· Plant 12in (30cm) apart, with rows at
18in (45cm) distance. Do not bury the crown –
the stem base should be at ground level. Plant
firmly and water in after planting.
Sowing time: Sow indoors under glass in March.
Planting time: Transplant seedlings at the end
of May to mid June.
Cutting time: Usually October and November; can
extend from mid September to the end of March.
Looking after the crop
· Hoe regularly and feed occasionally –
a mulch in early summer will help to conserve
· Remove side shoots – from midsummer
onwards remove the lower leaves so as to expose
· In late September draw soil around the
· Aim for maximum size – neither
flavour nor texture deteriorate with age. Lifting
begins in October – in most areas you can
cover the roots with straw or peat and then lift
as required until early spring.
· If your soil is heavy and the site exposed,
it is better to lift the crop in November. Twist
off the tops, cut off the roots and store in boxes
filled with damp peat. Keep in a cool shed.
Marble Ball: The best known variety – medium-sized,
globular and strongly flavoured. Stores well over
Iram: Medium-sized like Marble Ball, but remains
white when cooked.
Tellus: Another variety which remains white after
boiling. Quick-growing with a smoother skin than
Claudia: Reputed to be the least knobbly of all
Jose: Earliness is the main claim to fame of this
variety. ‘Roots’ are uniform in shape.
Globus: Not particularly quick to mature, but
the size of the crop is larger than average.