VARIETIES (approximately 110-150 days from transplanting).
Early: Utah 52-70-R Improved.
Late: Florida 683. For trial: Clean Cut, Tall Green Light, Ventura.
Processing: Processor specifies varieties. Tall varieties are preferred. Some that have
been used include: Tall Utah 52-75, Tall Utah 52-70R Improved, T.U. 52-70HK, Matador,
Others for trial: Clean Cut, Conquistador, Green Giant, Promise, Tall Green Light,
UC8-1, UC10-1, UC26-1, Ventura, Vicar, VTR-1325, VTR-1744, VTR-1901, VTR-1917, XP-85.
Note: The following varieties are reported to have Fusarium
resistance: Picador, Matador, XP-85, Vicar, Deacon (tall), Promise, UC8-1,
UC10-1, and UC26-1. Fusarium is a soilborne fungus now limiting
celery production in certain areas in California. It is spread in all ways
that soil or water are spread between production areas
or fields, through transplants, plant residue, and soil. Once the disease is
established, the field is contaminated indefinitely.
Novelty: Pink Celery and Solid Red (pink and red stalked,
Other species provide types for other uses. Apium secalinum
leaves are used for garnish,
flavoring and medicinal uses while celeriac (Apium rapaceum) produces
an enlarged root-stem
which is a popular vegetable in Europe and in specialty markets.
Muck soils are ideal because of their high moisture-holding capacity. A
pH of 5.2-6.5 is required
for good production. Fertile, well drained mineral soils are also suitable
where sufficient water
can be provided throughout the growing season. Sandy soils are not
SEED AND SEED TREATMENT
Celery seed numbers approximately 960,000 per pound. Use only treated
seed for transplant
production. Celery is not commonly direct seeded. Some companies provide
vigorized or primed
seed that germinates uniformly and rapidly. Use only highest quality sized
and density graded
SEEDING AND TRANSPLANT PRODUCTION
Direct seeding is not recommended due to the difficulty in establishing
a uniform stand and the
long time needed to harvest. Pelleted, vigorized seed and precision seeding
should be used for transplant production.
Plug transplants are available from specialized transplant producers
when prearranged by contract. For
production of on-farm greenhouse transplants, broadcast seed into a suitable
soil mix or sterilized
soil, transplant to other flats when seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall. Move
plants to the field when
seedlings are 4 to 5 inches tall and temperatures are above 55 F. Larger
transplants are more susceptible to bolting and to transplant shock, and are
Clipping the leaves of the seedlings results in greater uniformity, stronger
stems, and allows more
light to reach the slower-growing smaller seedlings.
In field or greenhouse transplant production, care must be exercised to
protect plants from mean
daily temperatures below 55 F for extended periods of time (10-14 days), and
45 F for even short periods. Such exposure preconditions celery to bolting
and may result in
severe losses in yield and quality. Varieties differ in susceptibility to
Celery is usually planted into the field after May 20, with most transplanting
occurring in June. Celery planted in the field around June 1 will be ready to
harvest about October 1.
Dip celery plant roots in a solution made up of 3 lb 11-48-0 or 11-55-0
that has been
dissolved in a 55-gal drum of water, or use such a starter solution in the transplanter
Machine-transplant seedlings carefully to ensure a more uniform depth of
planting and even growth.
Never allow celery plant roots to dry out during handling and transplanting.
Clip tops of transplants, if excessive, to reduce
transplant shock. Planting before May 20 may result in excessive bolting
unless plants are
protected by row tunnels or field covers.
Rows should be spaced 15-20 inches apart with plants spaced 6-8 inches
apart within the rows. If paired
rows are used, use 12-14 inches between pairs of rows and space pairs 40
Using excessive spacings will result in plants that are more open than
A soil test is the most accurate guide to fertilizer requirements. The
are general guidelines for Western Oregon:
Add lime to maintain pH above 5.5 on muck soils and above 6.0 on mineral
Before transplanting, broadcast and incorporate the following on both mineral
and muck soils unless otherwise specified:
Nitrogen: 100-150 lb N/acre. Apply remaining N as indicated below.
For muck soils, reduce N rate by 40-50 lb/acre.
Phosphate: 175-200 (P205) lb/acre
Potash: 150-200 (K20) lb/acre. Excessive potash may aggravate boron
Sulfur: 20-30 (S) lb/A
Magnesium: Apply 0.5-1.0 lb Mg/acre (5-10 lb Epsom Salts). For muck
soils, apply 2 lb Mg/acre (20 lb Epsom Salts).
Boron: 1-2 lb B/acre. See also below.
Sidedress fertilizer: Three to 4 weeks after transplanting, apply 35-70 lb
N/acre. Limit subsequent N applications to 25-30 lb/acre each, for a total of
200 lb N/acre. Individual applications
should not exceed the rates specified since excess N at any one time may
result in cracking of the basal portion of the petioles,
celery that becomes quickly pithy, and has reduced keeping qualities.
If magnesium deficiency is observed, apply Epsom Salts at 5 to 10
lb/acre. If symptoms
persist beyond 10-14 days, a second similar application may be needed. Two
applications should suffice.
If transverse cracking is noted, apply a boron foliar spray of 0.5 -1.0
lb B/acre. A potassium excess can cause a
potassium-boron imbalance, which may also result in transverse cracking and
A calcium imbalance or deficiency can cause black heart. This occurs
most frequently during
periods of moisture stress and rapid growth during periods of high
temperature. If temporary
wilting occurs, irrigate, then spray (direct into the heart of the plant) with
10 lb calcium chloride
or 15 lb calcium nitrate per acre. If moisture stress continues, reapply
calcium chloride or
calcium nitrate once per week until the stress period is over.
Celery requires a uniform and regular supply of water. Frequent
irrigations are preferred. Irregular or infrequent water
applications may aggravate black heart (see also comments for calcium above).
A total of 18-20 inches of water may be needed in western Oregon.
Soil type does not affect the amount of total water needed, but does
dictate frequency of water
application. Lighter soils need more frequent water applications, but less
water applied per application.
Because celery is often harvested late into the fall when frost can occur,
irrigation for frost protection
should be considered. Solid-set irrigation for late plantings allows water
applications during a frost event to
prevent frost damage. This protects plant tissues from damage because of
the heat released as water freezes on the plants. Apply water using smaller
mist nozzles when possible, and continue applying water after the frost event
is over until all ice is melted from the plants.
Using standard irrigation nozzles in frost protection is also helpful,
but may create difficulty in harvest from wet field conditions. Irrigating
fields just before a frost event can be helpful, even if water application
can not be continued throughout the frost event, but this is not as effective as
applying water throughout the frost event.
In Oregon, drip irrigation is used in celery grown for processing to reduce risk from foliar diseases such as
Septoria leaf spot for which there is little practical control. Drip lines, lay-flat plastic pipe, and other
hardware are installed after transplanting, when celery is about 8-10 inches tall. The equipment is removed
and stored after harvest for use on other crops.
Gibberellic acid (GA) has a label for use on celery to hasten maturity, to increase plant height, to increase yield, and to overcome stress due to cold weather
or saline soils. Check a current label for rates and restrictions. Applications must not be earlier than four weeks before
harvest as earlier applications may cause seed stalk formation (bolting). Caution: Use of GA on celery in the Pacific Northwest
is suggested for trial only. We lack experience with this use under our climatic conditions.
HARVESTING, HANDLING, AND STORAGE
The University of California-Davis has a file on Minimal
Processing of Fresh Vegetables that discusses film wrapping and other topics.
Average yields of celery for fresh market are reported as approximately
535 cwt/acre while good
yields are about 700 cwt/acre. Yields of celery for processing are about 35
yields are approximately 200 cwt/acre.
Celery may be hand harvested or machine harvested, but that which is
grown in Oregon is hand
harvested. Harvest when stalks are of sufficient size but before any pith has
developed in the
petioles. In some U.S. production areas, celery is trimmed to produce
"hearts" which are
packaged 2 or 3 per package with the stalks that are trimmed off being used
for processing. It is
critical that harvested stalks be quickly cooled.
STORAGE (Quoted or modified from USDA Ag. Handbook 66 and other sources)
Store celery at 32 F and 90-95% relative humidity. Celery should keep
for 2 to 3 months if stored
in rooms held uniformly at 32 F. However, less celery is stored now than in
former years. Since
wilting is a major cause of deterioration, it is best to store celery at very
high relative humidity (98
to 100 %) and with sufficient air circulation to keep temperatures at the top
and bottom of the
room as nearly equal as possible. Spreading burlap on the storage room floor
and keeping it
constantly wet is one method of maintaining a high relative humidity. The use
polyethylene film crate or carton liners also provides an effective method of
relative humidity to minimize moisture loss. Prepackaging with shrink film
sleeves or with
open-top plastic bags also is a good way to retain moisture without the danger
carbon dioxide or depleting oxygen.
Celery can be precooled by refrigerated forced-air cooling, by
hydrocooling, or by vacuum
cooling. Hydrocooling is the most common precooling method, and temperatures
brought at near to 32 F as possible. In practice, temperature reduction is
often only to 40 to 45 F.
Vacuum cooling is widely used for celery packed in corrugated cartons for
shipment. Ice is often added to the crates to keep the celery near 32 F.
Air circulation can be maintained around crates by using dunnage strips
between the crates and
leaving air channels between rows. If wall or ceiling refrigerating coils are
used, fans should be
located so that they will provide adequate air circulation. Celery should not
be stacked more than
four crated high in storages without forced-air circulation; otherwise, there
is danger of
overheating due to heat of respiration.
For better storage, celery should be cut with a small piece of root
attached and harvested before
the outer stalks become pithy. Some growth takes place in celery while in
storage; the central
stalks lengthen considerably. Some blanching of the stalks also takes place
in most cultivars
during storage. Celery is rather perishable, and under unsuitable storage
conditions it is especially
subject to watery soft rot. This disease originates in the field and is
caused by a fungus that is
able to develop to some extent even at 32 to 34 F.
Use of the jacketed-room system for cold storage has proven successful
for celery in Canadian
tests. Weight losses at 32 F averaged 1.25 %/month in jacketed storage as
compared with 2.5
%/month in directly cooled rooms.
An atmosphere containing 3 % oxygen and 5 % carbon dioxide reduced decay
and loss of green
color in celery held at 32 F in high-humidity storage.
Celery is packaged in 55 to 65-lb cartons 2.5 to 6
dozen bunches each. Celery hearts are packaged in 24 to 28-lb cartons,
holding 12 or 18 film bags.
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