How to grow your own celeriac
Celeriac is easier to grow than its sibling celery and provides an interesting vegetable for autumn and winter. With a mild celery flavour, celeriac can be cooked or used raw in salads. Choose ground that has been well dug and has had well-rotted manure or garden compost added.
Sow the celeriac seeds in March/April when the threat of harsh frosts has passed.
When and where to grow celeriac
- When to sow: Spring – March/April
- When to harvest: October to March
- Ready in: 6 – 7 months
- Challenge level: Takes patience
The ground should be firmed before planting by raking and treading. A little fish, blood and bone can be added and raked into the surface. Celeriac loves moisture too – so keep this in mind when you’re choosing where to plant it.
How to sow celeriac
Sow the seeds in pots or modules in March or April either in a greenhouse or cold frame. Grow the plants on until they are established and hardened off. Plant out in rows towards the end of May onwards once the plants are large enough. Don’t cover the seeds.
Celeriac doesn’t usually require any follow-on sowing.
How to grow celeriac
Celeriac should be planted firmly in rows with 30cm between each plant and 45cm between the rows. The ground should be well dug and firmed before planting. Keep the plants free from weeds and remove some of the older leaves every so often as the plants develop.
Caring for celeriac
Celeriac likes the warmth, so once you’ve transferred single seedlings to individual small pots (which you can do as soon as they are handled), be sure to maintain temperatures of 15-18°C. Excessive cold can lead to premature flowering (known as bolting).
Remove the outer leaves as plants mature and the leaves themselves fall horizontal. This will expose the crown and allow it to develop properly. You should remove side shoots if they appear too.
During the cold winter months, cover with a thick layer of bracken or straw to prevent the ground from freezing.
Celeriac is usually harvested between October and the following March, and it’s best to leave it in the ground until required. When you’re ready to use the celeriac, gently lift the roots with a fork and shake off excess soil. Trim off the leaves and any fibrous roots before cleaning.
Celery Fly or Leaf Miner can affect Celeriac. This shows as brown blisters on the leaves, where a tiny grub is burrowing through the leaf. These leaves should be removed and destroyed. Give the plants a liquid feed to stimulate growth, which will help them fend off attacks.
Slugs and snails like to feed on the young seedlings and leave behind their tell-tale slime trail as evidence. Beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers, copper tape and bio-controls are all good ways to control these pests.