Growing Trench Celery

Trench Celery

Sam Youd shows the width required for a double row of trench celery. Note the traditional forcing pots to the left

Sam Youd, Head gardener at the famous Tatton Gardens shows us the traditional way to grow trench celery.   Celery is quite tricky to grow, but not beyond the novice if you follow the rules carefully.

The main thing to remember is that celery needs a lot of water to do well and, being a leafy vegetable, it likes plenty of available nitrogen.

Growing Celery Video

How to Grow Trench Celery

This is the standard traditional way to grow celery, blanching the leaves. Modern varieties are self-blanching and grown more simply with a different method. See How to Grow Celery for more information.

Start in early spring by digging your trench and incorporating well-rotted manure in the base or compost. A barrow load per square yard is ideal. Make sure it is well broken up and mixed into the soil. A mini-tiller is ideal for this.

An alternative if manure is not available is to add a general purpose fertiliser along with additional bonemeal and high nitrogen fertiliser like dried blood or sulphate of ammonia.

In late March or early April, sow seeds under heat in a compost and sand mixture. Make sure to water frequently and avoid temperature fluctuations which will check growth. Plant up into individual pots as the seedlings grow.

Plant out after the last frost, being careful to harden off the plants over a week or two first so as not to shock them.

Keep the plants well watered, especially in dry weather. A trickle hose down the trench should provide enough water but don’t under-estimate trench celery, some show growers talk about 20 litres per plant per day!

Once they grow, wrap the leaves with cardboard, the corrugated sort is best if you can get it, to protect the leaves and draw in the soil from the side of the trench. This will blanch the leaves.

Posted in Tatton Gardens, Vegetable Growing

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