You may not have heard of celeriac, and you’ll be forgiven for getting it mixed up with celery, which it has a similar flavour too. It’s a vegetable that isn’t often spoken about, but I think it should be. So, here’s how to grow your own celeriac at home.
Celery and celeriac may be from the same family and have similar tastes, but they are very different vegetables. You may see celeriac called celery root because it’s grown for its roots rather than the stem, like celery. Another difference is that celeriac can be left in the ground through winter and harvested when needed. Whereas celery is more perishable and is ideally eaten as soon as it’s ready.
In the kitchen
This unusual veg is highly nutritious. It is a good source of vitamin K that helps with boosting the health of our bones, as well as being high in vitamin C which is necessary to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
The edible part of the plant is the swollen stem, and it tastes like a mixture between celery, aniseed, and fennel.
Although celeriac has a similar flavour to celery, it is great when mashed or added to stews and soups. Peel the tough skin away and it can be boiled or roasted, and it can make a great alternative to potato chips. Or it can be grated raw over a salad.
Sowing and growing celeriac
In March, sow seeds in pots in a propagator or cold frame. When the seeds have germinated and become small seedlings, they can be potted up into individual pots. These can then be placed in a glasshouse, cold frame or on a bright windowsill.
Celeriac needs plenty of moisture to grow, as well as fertile soil and lots of sun. Water regularly to keep the soil consistently moist.
Harden off the seedings by reducing the water and gradually expose them to outdoors in May. Then, in May to June, plant them out about 6-12 inches apart.
Mulching can help too because it will retain moisture whilst suppressing weeds at the same time.
When the plants mature, remove the outer leaves so that the crown is exposed and can develop. Remember to remove any side shoots if they grow.
‘Prinz’ is a variety that is slow to bolt and is disease resistant making it a perfect variety to start with.
From October to March, the celeriac will be ready to harvest.
Leave them in the ground until they are required, and in the meantime it’s ideal to cover the area with a thick later of straw over winter. Doing this will stop the ground from freezing and retain heat.
So, add something new to your garden this year by growing celeriac. I’d love to hear how you get on, so let me know on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
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