Celeriac 'Giant of Prague'
Scientific Name: Apium graveolens var. rapaceum
Common Names: Celeriac 'Giant of Prague', Turnip-Rooted Celery, Knob Celery, Celery Root
Celeriac originates from the Mediterranean region. Giant of Prague is a popular heirloom Celeriac variety first grown in 1871 and still commonly grown today. This variety is open-pollinated, meaning that you can collect the seeds from your plants and they'll grow true to type year after year.
Although Celeriac belongs to the same species as regular celery it is instead grown for it's large, knobly, bulb-like root. Similarly to other root vegetables it can be roasted in wedges, cut into chunks and added to stews, pureed in soups or mashed with potatoes and other root vegetables. Celeriac can also be eaten raw and is delicious cut into sticks and served with dips or grated into salads. The flavour of Celeriac is similar to celery but much milder with nutty overtones. The leaves and stalks of Celeriac are edible too and are stronger than regular celery. Celeriac roots have a long shelf life when stored in the fridge with all their leaves removed and wrapped in plastic so that they don't dry out. The flavour or Celeriac will become milder the longer that it's stored.
Growing Celeriac near bean, brassica and cucumber plants can aid their growth. Growing cauliflowers, cabbages, daisy flowers, leeks, tomatoes, garlic and beans nearby can aid the growth of your Celeriac plants. Avoid growing Celeriac near corn plants. While Celeriac grows well with most daisy flowers, it can be an asymptomatic host plant for certain diseases effecting plants in the Aster genus so avoid growing it near them. The scent of Celeriac can help to repel white-flies.
Celeriac prefers growing in a full sun or lightly shaded location. Celeriac likes growing in a loose, well drained but rich soil. A sandy loam with lots of organic matter including well-rotted manures, compost and worm castings dug through a few weeks prior to sowing to improve soil structure and provide nutrients is ideal. Grow Celeriac in raised vegetable beds if your natural garden soil is too compacted or heavy with clay. Unlike most other root vegetables Celeriac is a heavy feeder so fertilise your plants regularly as they are growing with a complete organic liquid fertiliser, worm juice or compost tea. Celeriac plants don't have deep roots below their tubers so water them regularly, every second day is best. Mulch around plants well with sugar cane mulch to keep their root system cool, retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Celeriac grows best in soil of a slightly acid to neutral pH range between 6.0 and 7.0.
When To Sow:
In cooler regions of Australia sow Celeriac from October to December. In temperate regions of Australia sow Celeriac from September to December. In subtropical regions of Australia sow Celeriac during March, April, September or October. In tropical regions of Australia sow Celeriac during the dry season from April to July
How To Sow:
Sow Celeriac seeds 8mm deep spacing plants about 45cm apart to give your seedlings room to grow.
Celeriac germination can be erratic, however most seedlings will emerge between 14 and 21 days after sowing the seeds. Soak Celeriac seeds overnight in water prior to sowing to help improve germination rates.
Time To Harvest:
Giant of Prague Celeriac roots take between 16 and 18 weeks to reach a size big enough for harvest. Harvest the roots before they reach 14cm in diametre and they'll be tender, older roots will be tough and fibrous.