Growing Celery from a Stump

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20160430B.jpgDid you know that when you buy celery at the supermarket, there are ways to recover the plant and get it to grow again? It’s an easy project to carry out on the average windowsill and a great way to show the children how plants grow… but it’s also a net savings for you, because the original celery plant will provide several more months of greenery. Here’s what to do:

The next time you chop up a bunch of store-bought celery, leave its base intact (aim for a height of about 2 inches/5 cm). Now place the stump in a bowl, cut side up, and add enough water so the base sits in it. Soon small white roots will appear and new leaves will emerge from the center of the stump. For good green growth to occur, you’ll need to place the bowl on a sunny windowsill… and add water regularly as soon as the level drops. The base must be moist at all times. The leaves produced rarely result in the long thick stalks you’re used to, but are still perfectly edible and you can chop them up and use them in any recipe that calls for celery.

Better Than Water

Growing a celery stump in water is a bit of a gimmick, though. It’s great for kids and seems to please non-gardeners who somehow feel that growing anything is just plain water is really cool. But it you want truly long lasting results, try growing it in soil.

To do so, fill a pot with moist potting soil and set the stump firmly into it. Now that it’s growing in an environment more like that of a vegetable garden, it will be much more productive and long lasting. Put the pot in a sunny spot, keep the soil slightly moist and you can usually get at least 4 to 5 months of growth, often more.

Of course, that’s on a windowsill. Still not ideal conditions for a celery plant. Better yet, therefore, when your celery stump is well rooted, plant it outdoors in the vegetable garden, in full sun (acclimatize it first) and rich, moist soil. It will take off and grow just like a seed-sown celery plant, giving a full-sized plant of supermarket quality, ready to harvest at the end of the summer. And then you can harvest the stump and start all over again!

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