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For many, buying their favorite Celery veggie snack at the local market is a weekly routine. However, over time this can become an expensive and time-consuming activity, two things that most people would like to reduce as much as possible. As a result, many consumers are turning to Aquaponics as a more convenient way to get their celery on a regular basis. Growing Celery in aquaponics gardens provides you the path to naturally sustainable produce for years to come.
In this article, you will learn how you can cultivate Celery in your Aquaponics system.
Why Grow Celery in your Aquaponics Garden?
The green crop with its peppery flavor is a beautiful base vegetable for many dishes. You can add Celery to stocks, soups, salads, and stews. Others prefer eating the vegetable raw with a dip or serving Celery braised, steamed, or sauteed. In the United States, Michigan and California commercially produce the crop for processing into frozen or canned products, and also for distribution to the fresh market.
Common Varieties of Celery
There are three primary categories of Celery. From these categories, there are various types you can choose from. Below are the Celery categories and their types.
- Pascal (Apium graveolens L. var. dulce) – This is the most common Celery grown in the United States. A few of its varieties are Tall Utah, Golden Boy, Monterey, and Conquistador.
- Leaf Celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum) – Compared to Pascal, Leaf Celery features a thinner stalk with more fragrant seeds and leaves. Some of its varieties are Flora 55, Safir, and Par Cel.
- Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) – This type of Celery boasts a delightful root that others love to eat raw or cook. Celeriac varieties that you can grow are Mentor, Diamante, Brilliant, and Giant Prague.
How to Serve Celery From Your Aquaponic Garden
Aside from being a base vegetable for many dishes, there are also other ways you can enjoy Celery. Here are several ways you can serve and appreciate this beneficial crop.
- Include raw Celery as an appetizer, side dish, or eat them as a snack.
- Mix fresh Celery to your favorite sandwiches.
- Use raw Celery stalks then add stuffings such as blue cheese, deviled eggs, or seafood mix.
- Dice fresh Celery then add to tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad, or mixed vegetables.
- If you have Celery leaves, you can blend it with sauces, bouillons, and soups to give it zest. You can also add the leaves to your main entrees, just like Parsley.
Health Benefits of Celery
The vegetable is a welcome addition to any healthy diet because Celery contains micronutrients, and it has high water content. According to the USDA, 1 cup of sliced Celery (100 grams) will give you the following nutrients:
- Carbohydrates – 3 grams
- Fat – 0.2 grams
- Fiber – 1.6 grams
- Protein – 0.7 grams
- Sodium – 80.8 milligrams
A study likewise suggests that Celery may have properties that help prevent Cancer. The vegetable carries Apigenin, a plant substance that can possibly aid in cell death, which makes it valuable in Cancer treatment.
Cultivating Celery in your Aquaponics Garden
As previously mentioned, cultivating your homegrown Celery will provide you with a naturally sustainable way to enjoy the veggie for years to come. Below are general guidelines to help you in growing Celery in Aquaponics Gardens.
Celery requires plenty of water to grow. The most compatible technique for cultivating the vegetable is the Raft method or Deep Water Aquaponics. Alternatively, other growers use the Media Bed system.
A few of the growing media suitable for cultivating Celery are Clay pebbles, Rockwool, Oasis cubes, and Coconut coir.
The crop prefers a pH range between 5.8 to 6.8. As always make sure to use a quality pH Meter.
Your crop should receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. However, you will also need to provide partial shade during the hottest time of the day. If your vegetable garden is indoor, you can use fluorescent grow lights to supply the light your crop needs.
Water and Air Temperature
Celery is a cool-weather crop. It is best to keep temperatures between 70⁰F to 75⁰F during day time and 60⁰F to 65⁰F during evenings.
As a vegetable, Celery grows approximately 12 to 18 inches tall edible stalks. You can space your plants 10 to 12 inches apart to minimize nutrient competition.
Gardeners typically grow Celery through seeds. Take note, though, that the crop’s seeds are incredibly tiny, so sowing the seeds in a raft or a bed can be tricky. To make it easier, use damp cotton to help you in placing the seeds in the bed. You can either remove the seeds using your fingers or a toothpick.
Additionally, remember to be patient because Celery is slow-growing. You can soak your seeds in lukewarm water overnight to speed up germination. Once everything is in place, cover the bed with a plastic wrap to keep it moist. The day you start to plant Celery to harvest is roughly 100 to 140 days. You can begin collecting your crops when you notice the stalks are around 8 inches tall.
Crappie is one of the fish you can raise when growing Celery in Aquaponics gardens. You can choose to grow either the black or white Crappie. Keep in mind though that both types can survive various temperature changes. The fish prefers temperature between 60°F to 75°F and a pH range between 6.5 to 8.2. Aside from being a hardy fish, Crappie is suitable for Aquaponics because of its fantastic taste.
Some of the pests that Celery encounters are leaf miners, slugs, and snails. If without the proper nutrients, the crop can suffer from Blight and Blackheart.
Common Problems Growing Aquaponic Celery
The crop is temperature-sensitive. Celery will need cool weather to thrive. Extreme warm or cold climate can hamper the crop’s growth. If you plant Celery in a temperature below 50°F, your vegetable may experience bolting. It is essential then to plant the vegetable within ideal conditions.
Where to Buy Celery Seeds
Here are a few quick tips to help you choose and preserve your Celery.
- Choose Celery with a firm, vibrant, and sturdy stalks in securely formed bunches. Avoid Celery that is dry, damaged, or with brown markings. Remember, darker colored Celery may bring a more robust or bitter flavor.
- You can freeze the vegetable for up to 3 months. Wash and trim the Celery base only when you are about to cook them.