By Jackie Carroll
Vegetable gardeners sometimes avoid celery because of the fuss involved in starting the plants. A quick and easy way to get celery plants started is growing celery ends. This method is also great idea for growing celery with kids. A plant started from the bottom of a stalk of celery is ready to transplant outdoors in just a week, and growing a celery bottom is frugal, fun and easy. Let’s learn more about this celery plant experiment and how to grow celery from cut stalk bottoms.
Growing Celery with Kids
As with any gardening project, growing a celery bottom with your children is a great way to get them interested in the garden. They will not only learn more about how plants grow, but will also develop an understanding about where food comes from.
Use this project as a summer celery plant experiment for the kids. They’ll have fun learning as they grow their own celery plants, and when the experiment is done they can enjoy eating the fresh stalks.
Each 4-inch piece of stalk has only 1 calorie. The kids can stuff the stalks with their favorite nutritious spreads, such as nut butters and humus, or use them in food art and other fun activities.
How to Grow Celery from Cut Stalk Bottoms
Growing a celery bottom is easy. Before taking on this fun celery plant experiment, make sure there is an adult present to perform all the cutting and ensure safety.
Cut the stalks from the celery bottom, leaving a 2-inch stub at the bottom. Have the kids rinse the stub and set it in a shallow dish of water. Leave the celery bottom in the dish for about a week, changing the water daily. Over the course of a week, the outer portion dries and shrivels and the inner part begins to grow.
Help your child transplant the celery bottom into the garden after about a week. Choose a sunny location, unless you are transplanting your celery in the heat of summer. In summer, choose a location with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Celery grows best in rich garden soil, but if you don’t have a garden, you can grow your celery outdoors in a flower pot. In fact, when growing celery with kids, this is probably the most ideal way to go. Use a 6- to 8-inch pot with several drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with good quality potting soil. After transplanting, your child should water the growing celery ends thoroughly and keep the soil moist at all times.
Celery is a heavy feeder. Spray the plants with an organic liquid fertilizer diluted as instructed on the label for foliar feeding. (Note: this is best left for the adult.) Spray both the plant and the surrounding soil. Give the plant a boost by spraying it with liquid seaweed extract two or three times during the growing season.
It takes three months or more for celery to mature. A mature stalk is rigid, crisp, glossy and tightly packed. You can cut off a few outer stalks as they mature by cutting them near the base. When the plant is ready for the harvest, lift it and cut the roots off near the base.
Now that you know how to go about growing celery ends, you and the kids can enjoy watching the “fruits of your labor.”