Why is my garden celery yucky?

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This is a call for help. Last October I planted – on impulse – a 6-pack of celery. It has looked beautiful for months, though periodic tastings of outer stalks were disappointing. They were tough and bitter. So finally today I had enough. I pulled them all out. After a lot of rinsing to remove the slugs, aphids, ladybug larvae, and stink bugs I cut up two plants and am boiling them to prepare a celery-flavored stock for cooking. I will refrigerate one plant to see if it mellows a bit as it blanches in the cold darkness.

Planted in early October in bottom row next to pots of herbs.

They look good…

Cleaning off bugs. Why am I so afraid of eating a few aphids?

As I write this the smell of cooking celery wafts up to my desk. I love that smell!

Does anyone know why this was such a failure? The plants looked great. They were growing in rich soil and cool, wet weather. Ideas anyone?

13 thoughts on “Why is my garden celery yucky?

  1. &quot;It has looked beautiful *for months*, though periodic tastings of outer stalks were disappointing&quot;<br /><br />Just a guess, but a little Googling suggests that celery needs 6H of sun daily and a quick growth to prevent bitterness. Months might have been too long.<br /><br />Also, your bunches look like they have many loose stalks. I think I also ran across a reference that suggested

  2. Kudos, Barbara, for trying celery, and sharing the results. Agree with Brent on the need for sun, also nighttime temperatures may have been too cool. I am guessing, too, but I have read that celery has a very narrow temperature range, preferring days 70 to 75, and nights 60 to 65. Very few sell celery at local Farmer&#39;s Markets, so it must be difficult!

  3. Honestly, I haven&#39;t grown celery in years. We used to direct sow seed after the last frost in spring. As it doesn&#39;t like sudden drops in temperature, perhaps transplanting in October is part of the issue here, so I would certainly try again. We did used to find that blanching celery was key to avoid bitterness. Apparently even the &#39;self-blanching&#39; varieties benefit from it.

  4. Note to self: don&#39;t grow celery.

  5. I had the same problem. My celery tasted like it was celery concentrate. Ridiculously overpowering and bitter. I&#39;m not a huge celery fan so I let that one bad experience turn me off of growing celery.

  6. I do more or less okay with it in my foggy coastal garden. I grow it through the summer and then try to get it to put out a bunch of fast growth in the fall. In my experience it likes sun but not heat, a lot of compost, and a lot of water. I like celery leaves, otherwise I probably wouldn&#39;t grow it.

  7. Liz

    Thanks for the info Barbara. I would suggest to keep on growing tomatoes. Easy and delicious!

  8. Thanks everyone for your comments. Turling, yes indeed, note to self… Too much work for celery! I did make the stock and will freeze it to add to soups, etc. when I want a nice celery flavor. Otherwise, as Liz mentioned, tomatoes are the way to go.<br /><br />April 15, 2010 5:26 PM

  9. I never have tried to grow celery, but when you find out why it went bitter, let us know.<br /><br />Although there&#39;s something to be said for &quot;super celery&quot; flavor in cooking.

  10. Thanks to everyone for your comments. So it seems that when they say celery is hard to grow what it actually means is celery that tastes good is hard to grow. Sounds like temperature, soil, etc. need to be just right and then it is important to cover the celery stems so they blanch. All of this just confirms that celery isn&#39;t good enough for so much effort, especially since you can get good

  11. Can you do lovage there, Barbara? I long ago gave up on real celery and use lovage when I want the celery flavor. A word of warning, though: Don&#39;t let it bloom, or it will reseed like crazy.

  12. Hi Blackswamp girl. Yes I do know about lovage. In fact, Ottawa Gardener (http://veggiepatchreimagined.blogspot.com/) offered lovage seed to anyone interested, and was kind enough to send me some. They are doing quite well though they are still just seedlings. Can&#39;t wait to use lovage in my cooking, especially since commercially produced celery was recently rated as the highest in pesticides.

  13. Anonymous

    Well, I am glad I stumbled across these old posts, I just wish it was before we grew celery this summer. It looked great and lush, but it tasted really strong and bitter and was pretty tough. Ugh! What a disappointment. My husband says it is only good as garnish for Bloody Marys! Looking at the bright side!<br />

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