Those who have had trouble growing celery or who want to try out a hardier and more disease resistant alternative may wish to try celeriac. Though these ugly vegetables look little like celery they are very similar in flavour and smell. These sturdy brutes of the vegetable world can be a great addition to any garden.

Growing celeriac:

Like celery, celeriac likes a moist soil and the worst thing you could possibly do is let it dry out at all. Water well, regularly and consistently and make sure that you mulch the soil well to help it to retain moisture where it is needed. A good organic mulch will also help to keep the ground free of weeds that will compete with the celeriac for water and nutrients.

Celeriac will like a site in full sun, so do not be tempted to plant in a shady corner because that is where you find the dampest soil in your garden. If celeriac is given a sunny spot in good soil and has plenty of water then it tends to be hardier and more hassle free than celery.

Sow celeriac indoors in March and do not transplant seedlings to their final growing position until after risk of frost has passed. If you want, you can also reduce the risk of celeriac bolting by covering them with fleece, though celeriac is less prone to going to seed than celery.

When you plant out your celeriac, it is very important that you bury them to the right depth and do not bury the crown as this could then rot. The stem base should be at the level of the soil.

As the plant grows you should remove outer leaves as they flop sideways. This will expose the crown and allow it to develop. Remove also any side shoots that appear.

You can harvest celeriac throughout the late autumn and winter months. You can leave celeriac in the ground until they are required as long as you cover the plants with a thick layer of straw or bracken or similar to prevent the ground from freezing. Celeriac can also be stored indoors over the winter in potting compost, once the leaves have been twisted off.

Why grow celeriac in the garden?

Celeriac can be used in the kitchen in a variety of ways. It can be grated raw into a salad for a celery-like taste or cooked in any of the ways you might cook potato or parsnip. These versatile vegetables may not look good, with their strange knobbly root, but they taste great and can be a wonderful addition to a kitchen garden. They are also extremely healthy and have very few calories so they are great for anyone who is on a diet or simply wants to eat well.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Apium graveolens var. rapaceum