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Organic Gardening:

How to grow organic Celeriac


Useful for winter salads


Apium graveolens var. rapaceum

Family: Umbelliferae (Group 3)

Do you like celery? Once you start growing your own, you will miss it in the winter months. Somehow, the shop-bought variety will seem pale and uninteresting in comparison to freshly cut home grown organic celery.

The solution? Celeriac is a close relative, grown not for its leaves but for its turnip-shaped roots, which are usually grated or chopped for salad, or cooked as a vegetable in cubes. The leaves can also be used as a garnish or for flavouring. It's easier to grow than celery, as well.

Celeriac, or turnip-rooted celery, is grown for the swollen stem-base, which can reach 12cm (5") in diameter. It can be used grated or cut into strips in salad, or cooked.


Celeriac is a marshland plant, and likes fertile, moisture retaining soil, rich in organic matter. It can be grown in damper parts of the garden and tolerates light shade.


Celeriac needs a long growing season and adequate moisture throughout. Sow in gentle heat in trays or modules in February. Germination is often erratic. Prick out or thin to one plant per pot/module.

Recommended cultivars

Marble Ball (good storer), Snow White, Tellus

Harden off gradually before transplanting in May 30-37cm (12-15") apart each way, taking care not to bury the crowns.

Keep well weeded and water if rainfall is short. Remove outer leaves at the end of July to expose the crown. Mulching is usually beneficial.


Celeriac is ready from October until April or May the following year. Roots should be left in the ground in winter, as they deteriorate if lifted. Protect from severe frosts with a 15cm (6") layer of bracken or straw.

If required, lift and heel in elsewhere in Spring. Alternatively, peel, dice, blanch for 3 minutes and freeze.

If you're interested in healthy food, you may also be interested in our sister site, The Health Site, Your Online Health Channel.

Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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