1. Q. Can celery be grown successfully in gardens?

A. Yes, under the proper conditions. Celery does best in cool weather when nighttime temperatures are around 50 degrees F. and average daytime temperatures stay between 60 degrees to 70 degrees F. 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 the northern areas, set out celery transplants early to avoid damage from low temperatures. In the southern regions seed or transplant in late fall for harvest during mid-winter.

2. Q. Will freezing weather kill or damage celery?

A. Yes. Young celery plants can be damaged by near freezing temperatures. At or near maturity celery plants can withstand frost or freezing weather although temperatures much below 30 degrees F. can kill or damage them.

3. Q. What causes the stout and often bitter flavor?

A. Improper environmental conditions, primarily high temperatures at maturity along with stress conditions such as drought or low fertility can cause off-flavored celery. For maximum quality celery must be grown under suitable environmental conditions and a constant level of available moisture.

4. Q. What is meant by blanching celery?

A. Blanched celery lacks green color. Blanched celery is less popular and the self-blanching varieties are difficult to locate. Most gardeners prefer green celery because it is more nutritious. Green varieties can be blanched if light is blocked from the plant by placing strong paper or boards on each side of the plants or by loosely wrapping individual plants with paper 2 to 3 weeks before harvesting.

5. Q. I plant celery seed and they won't grow. Then when it is too late in the season many of the seeds I planted come up. How can I get the seed to grow at the right time?

A. Soil temperatures must be between 60 degrees to 70 degrees F. with a daily fluctuation to 60 degrees or lower at night. Adequate and constant moisture is necessary for seed germination.

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