Growing Gardens From Grocery Store Foods: Planting Store Celery
Did you know that you can plant and grow some of the fruit and vegetables that you purchase? Whether you buy these foods from a store or farmer’s market, you can sprout, plant, and harvest for years to come! This article will focus on celery and I will continue to publish more articles on the different species you can easily grow at home.
When we moved to the country in February this year (2012), I was so happy to finally have a place where I could indulge my love of old fashioned living. While I’ve been making things from scratch and re-purposing items for a long time, there’s nothing like the fresh air in the country and space to feed your soul. When you wake up in the morning to a view you’d only dreamed of having again for a decade…it seems like anything is possible.
Last year the spring planting season was very wet and cold in Buffalo, NY. Everything I planted either died or never bore anything worth harvesting. Out of all the sugar peas I planted, only one survived. It gave us one pea. ONE! I was so disappointed! I also felt like a failure, before moving to the city I had huge gardens full of everything my kitchen needed. Talk about a let down.
This year I started the seeds purchased last spring. We had kept them in the freezer, but I was worried they would not germinate. Most did, but while waiting I heard that you could re-grow celery. We use a lot of celery, my husband loves it and so do the kids. The next time we bought celery, I kept the bottom.
When you purchase celery you are buying a whole plant. The bottom has most of the roots cut off. When you cut the stalks off, place the bottom of the plant into a cup or short container with water. Keep the water about half-way up the side of the root you have. I kept mine in the cup for about two weeks, but you can plant it after soaking for just one night.
After about a week I saw a ‘nub’ on the top of the celery. I knew it had to go into dirt soon! We drink a lot of coffee, so I too an empty creamer container, cut it in half, and put holes in the bottom. Then I placed some gravel in the bottom for drainage. Dirt went into the container, about an inch layered over the gravel. On top of this went the celery.
My dirt was from the edge of our yard. It is very rich, though you can use a good potting soil. Mine is also a bit sticky with some clay, so I had to tuck the dirt in around the edges of the celery with my fingers. Continue adding dirt until you cover the cut portion of the celery – the places where you cut off the stalks. If you have growth after keeping it in the water, leave those ‘nubs’ uncovered.
Five days after placing in the container with dirt, I had leaves! Once the leaves begin to show, growth is fast. You can transplant to a larger container or to your garden at this time. If you live in a warm climate you can skip a container altogether.
As the celery grows, cut what you need from the plant and leave the rest in the container or in the garden. The celery will grow almost indefinitely. Keep the dirt moist, but not soaked. I water mine about once a week or when I remember to touch the dirt! If it is dry, I water. About one half cup of water to a small container like mine will suffice.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer.
May 6- Celery went into the garden. Placed it into a small hole and filled with dirt right up to the bottom of the new 1inch tall stalks.
Purchased a container of artisan, organic lettuce that has the bottoms attached like romaine and celery. Will be tracking the growth. If you would like to grow your own, follow the above steps for celery with romaine or other lettuce that has the bottoms attached.