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Friday, April 8, 2011

Celery--free plants to grow

April 8, 2011--celery on day ten at 4 inches

No, I do not like to buy celery. It is rather over-priced in my opinion. As long as I can grow even what I have in the last ten days, cheaply, I will not buy the expensive, poisoned vegetable, celery. This is the first of many plants I intend to grow with the bottom, usually discarded, celery head. No more pesticides for me. I never see organic celery. Maybe I don't look in the right place in town.

This will be a cut-and-come-again plant, used for fresh and eventually cut for dehydrating. My plan is to dehydrate as much as I can with this plant and future celery plants gotten using the same method. Then, I can put dehydrated celery in my coffee bean grinder and make single plant powders and combinations as I experiment.
Someone had a blog post with a tutorial on how to grow celery from the end of the stalk, you know--what you cut off and do not eat. I just knew I would remember who wrote the blog post and refer to it when I grew my own celery. If you know who had the tutorial, I will be glad to reference it.

When I did the celery rescue  and froze it, I had cut off the end with the intention of growing celery like the blogger did. It was just too cold and wet to sit in the back yard that day. I put the end of the celery in a small bowl of water. Too late, I remembered that the water with fluoride and chlorine might kill the possibility of sprouting. Never fear. It did start growing in the water.

Today, April 2, I got all my supplies out for this experiment. Yes, some time ago I had purchased soil in which to germinate seeds. No, I have not done that yet. Anyway, here goes:

These are the supplies I took outside. Of course, the box holds more than the pots. The gallon vinegar jug is cut around the top. Just below the handle about two inches is uncut. No picture except this one. I put three V-cuts in the bottom of the jug for drainage. Then, I decided I needed to take pictures. To germinate seeds, I would cut only about 5 inches from the bottom, leaving the top as a tall greenhouse. Since the celery may need more soil, I chose to cut the jug higher.

Cut the holes or slits for drainage before you cut the top. Since I cut around the jug first, it was unstable, leading me to fear I was going to cut myself as the jug kept collapsing as I struggled to cut with the utility knife.

Here, I have filled the jug with soil, heaped up. In the bottom of the jug you can see the natural, unbleached coffee filter I used to retain soil in the jug.

in water for three days

planted at three days, just after the above picture in water

I will be planting more celery as I get the bottoms, from where I have no idea at the moment. The plan is to dehydrate and make some celery powder by putting the dehydrated celery in with other vegetables I grow, dehydrate and grind. I am thinking of using the combinations I use most often--garlic, celery, onions and bell peppers. Of course, I don't have or use the powders. I use the fresh or frozen vegetables for the taste. Or, I could have the plain specimen of each powdered, dehydrated vegetable.

The celery at the top of the page is the result of five minutes work. It took ten days to reach this point, six days of the ten were days spent in soil.

Your turn
Have you ever planted and grown celery this way? If so, how tall did it grow? How successful would you describe your efforts? Who is going to try to grow celery this way?


  1. Will this work with any celery whether its organic or not, hybrid or not? I'm willing to give this a try!
    I poke holes in unstable plastic with fire. I heat up a Philips head screw driver and lmelt out th holes. It stinks so get some ventilation going.
    I love the reuse of your vinegar jug!

  2. LindaM, this is my first experiment. I rather think it will work with any celery. I take a ice pick and hold it to the electric stove element to poke holes. But, I did not realize this sturdy vinegar jug would become so floppy when I cut off the top. Thanks! There are another ten or so jugs waiting for me to put them to good use.

  3. this is a very clever idea, I'm going to try it! Thanks..

  4. Thanks. I just wish I could credit to the person who blogged about the growing celery with the end of the stalk/head. Someone also made greenhouses for germinating, and I don't remember who. I just combined the two ideas.

  5. I have never heard of this, but will definitely be trying it! I wonder if hubby threw out the last of the celery that we have. How long does it take before you can cut it and eat it? How do you know when it's ready?

    As for where to get more celery bottoms: Ask Freecylers to save them for you. I ask them for off-the wall items and they always come through for me. :-)

  6. I don't how long to wait before cutting it. It grew an inch overnight, so before long I will deem it cut-worthy. I do want to just cut from one stalk to see how tall it will get.I imagine I could cut it and use it right now.

    Asking around came to mind. With gas being $3.59/gal, I think it might be as cheap to buy another Since the freecycle covers a diameter of probably 50 miles, I don't want to get offers that use more gas than the new stalk is worth. At least, I would get value for the money.

    I answered a freecycle ad once and drove a 50 mile round trip for something not worth driving for. That said--Easter is just two weeks away, a time when people buy celery for potato salad for Easter dinner. I have a couple of friends who might save celery. They live close or work in town.

    Dumpster diving is my best

    Thanks for stopping buy and commenting and the suggestion.

  7. what a fabulous idea! just so happens I have a celery bottom in the kitchen compost bin right now. thanks, Practical!

  8. I never noticed how much celery costs, I eat 2 whole heads of it a week with peanut butter that I grind myself from roasted, unsalted peanuts. I did try to grow celery from seed once, but our Central Valley climate in California is just too warm. I save the leafy ends of my celery, chop them, and freeze them for soup. Are you sure them use chemicals when they're growing celery? I live in the middle of a garden bowl farming area. Crops here are not organic, but the only thing that ever gets sprayed is sweet corn if the cutworms move in. Small farmers will avoid expensive chemicals whenever they can.

  9. JAN,
    Of course, I cannot be positive about your celery, but if the celery is not organic, there is no way to know. THIS celery won't be sprayed, so the leaves will be safe. At one time, I used the celery leaves in cooking. I quit that once I found out about the high concentration of chemicals in the leaves. Did you know that celery is high in sodium?

    Dmarie, Good save. My celery bottom had been destroyed by hens when I first saw this technique. Let me know how it works out.

  10. I just learned something new. Never heard of this little trick.
    I will certainly remember this one, thanks!


  11. This is so cool. I never knew you could grow celery from the bottom of the stalks...I am so fascinated!!!

  12. Thanks for stopping by and the comment. This can be planted in the ground, also.

  13. Meg, lots of produce can be grown like this, I hear!

  14. Great idea! I can't wait to give it a try!

  15. GV, let me know how it grows for you.

  16. Also keep in mind that green onions / scallions can be grown this way from the root end. Just keep an inch or so of stalk plus the root, and put in a little water to get it going, the into a pot...

    -- just a guy

  17. Just a guy,

    Thanks for the reminder. I need to do that for winter, inside, in my little aquarium-like thing. By the way, that celery died because the tornado disrupted my life so that by the time I got any electricity (generator), it were on the way down and I could not save it.

    I have not bought any celery since. The other day, the freezer seemed devoid of celery. As soon as celery is on sale for Thanksgiving, I will fill my dehydrator with celery and other sale produce.

    Have you ever grown a pineapple? I have got the instructions down, just have not done it yet.

    Love the comments. Keep them


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