Growing Celery or Celeriac

Growing Celery or Celeriac
by Damaris Bentley

Celery (Apium graveolens); celeriac, also called turnip-rooted celery and knob celery (A. graveolens rapaceum).

There are two main kinds of cauliflower-one kind has white buds, the other has purple buds (the purple buds turn green when cooked). To ensure the production of firm as well as white heads, the white varieties must be blanched-that is, their buds must be shielded from light, a procedure that changes their color from green to white. Purple-budded varieties form solid heads naturally and do not require blanching.

Such weather occurs in widely separated regions at different times of the year-in summer in southern Canada, in the northern parts of the United States, particularly around the Great Lakes, and in coastal areas, such as Long Island and the Pacific Northwest; and from late fall until spring in the South and in California. Both plants grow 15 to 18 inches tall.

Blanch white-budded cauliflower on a dry day when the clusters are about 2 inches across. To blanch the heads, pull a few outer leaves together over the buds. Gather the leaves into a topknot and hold them together loosely with a string or rubber band. In warm weather the buds may take two to four days to turn white; in cold weather they may take a week or more.

In regions where frost is expected in winter and maximum summer daytime temperatures average 75 or less, cauliflower can be grown as a spring or fall crop. In regions where winter temperatures rarely fall below 30, it can be grown as a winter crop. For a spring crop, sow seeds indoors or in a hotbed four to six weeks before the last spring frost is expected, setting the seeds 1/2 inch deep. When the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall, transplant them to individual pots.

If night temperatures start to fall below 25 for more than a few nights at a time before the plants mature, dig them up with a little soil around them and put them close together in a deep cold frame or in an unheated garage; they will probably mature in a few weeks

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