Celery 'Red Stalk'
Scientific Name: Apium graveolens var. dulce
Common Names: Celery 'Red Stalk', Celery 'Red Stem'
Red Stalk is an old heirloom cultivar of celery dating from the early 18th century and grown for it's red stalk bases and strong flavour. This is an open-pollinated variety of celery, meaning you can collect the seeds year after year and they'll grow true to type.
Red Stalk is thought by some to be the best tasting variety of all heirloom celeries available. The flavour is slightly stronger and more herbal than regular celery but quite delicious. Great raw with or without dips or diced and cooked in casseroles, stews or soups. The stalks of this celery are firmer than other varieties and retain their shape better during cooking. Stalks retain their red colouration even after cooking. The leaves are also edible and are great when diced finely and added as a flavouring in soups.
Choose a location to grow Red Stalk celery that receives full sun or light shade. Ensure that your garden soil is free draining prior to growing celery, if your soil is compacted or heavy with clay try growing celery in raised beds instead. Celery can be a heavy feeder, so be sure to dig lots of organic fertiliser, well-rotted manure, compost and/or worm castings through the soil prior to sowing. Fertilise Red Stalk celery monthly with an organic liquid fertiliser, worm juice or pelleted fertiliser. Mulch around celery plants well to retain moisture, decrease competition from weeds and keep their root systems cool. Water your celery plants regularly, do not allow the soil to fully dry out or stems will become limp. Celery grows best when the soil pH is between 6.0 and 7.0. Tie string around the outer celery stalks loosely to keep all of the stems together and prevent them sprawling out. This variety of celery is suitable for container growing.
When To Sow:
In tropical regions of Australia sow Red Stalk celery from April to July. In subtropical regions of Australia sow Red Stalk celery either from March to April or from September to October. In temperate regions of Australia sow Red Stalk celery form September to December. In cooler regions of Australia sow Red Stalk celery from October to December.
How To Sow:
Sow Red Stalk celery seeds 8mm deep, spacing or thinning plants to about 20cm apart to give them room to grow. Soaking seed overnight prior to sowing can improve germination rates.
Red Stalk celery seeds take between 14 and 21 days to germinate once sown.
Time To Harvest:
Red Stalk celery takes between 12 to 13 weeks to form good sized bunches ready for harvesting. You can harvest individual stalks earlier as needed but be sure to break off the outer stalks first to avoid damaging the central growing point of your celery plants.