"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Monday, October 24, 2011

Potting Up Celery & Little Willie


Still frost free and our celery is potted up. In a another week or so it will be transferred to the root cellar for the winter, providing us with tasty stalks and leaves throughout the snowy months. Each pot contains 3-4 plants, 1/3 of whose foliage, preferably the less than desirable ones, are removed to compensate for root disturbance during the potting procedure. Only healthy plants that show no sign of bolting (sending up a round central stalk) to seed are chosen for winter storage. Most plants will not only survive the winter in our root cellar where they will continue producing, albeit somewhat more pale in comparison to the ones produced under sunlight, but can be planted back out into the garden in early spring for more fresh greens and eventually seed from chosen plants.

A new variety that we grew this year called Crisp & Tender, thanks to the seedy generosity of the kind soul at Kabun-Malay Kadazan girls blog, was a big hit with us. Unfortunately, we did not place it in the most ideal location as it was the last batch of celery planted this past spring and wound up in a slightly drier and shady location at the end of the row under a fir tree. Even so, the plants provided us with a plethora of slender and surprisingly dark green flavorful stalks...for sure we will be growing this variety again next season. We also grew Ventura, Giant Red, Utah, and a leaf celery called Parcel.

Sweet & Tender celery, all the way from Australia, thrived in our cool shady garden.

Also, meet Willie! This newest member of our family was found in the bushes almost two months ago. Hungry and emaciated the poor little guy took to us without complaint...he was so small. Little Willie has grown a lot, he likes to take dust baths with the chickens, greatly annoy the other cats, play in the garden, eat, eat some more, and sit on my lap while I am on the computer.

37 comments:

Lynda said...

Wow you folks eat a lot of celery! I over-winter 3 plants every year and that seems to give us enough for the winter...I do freeze a bit during the summer and I dry about a quart bag full. Your celery plants look great.

kelli said...

willie's adorable! that was the name of my late dog.=)

villager said...

I need to find room for some celery next year. We don't use a lot but it is nice for soups and seasoning. We have a great spot in the basement for a few pots of it.

Willie looks a lot like our Midnight, except he is still pretty wild. He was waiting for me to feed him this morning though. I guess cats define their relationship with us humans as it suits them. Sounds like Willie found a good home!

Anne said...

Celery looks lovely.. and Willie is down right adorable! He's a very lucky creature to be added to your home. :)

cathy@home said...

celery grows well here in the winter time too hot in the summer.
pretty little puss.

Kumi said...

What a lovely little guy he is! He does have that special look of a still-mischievous kitten! :-) Lucky he found a loving home for himself.

Your celery looks great! I really need to find more planting space next year...

Mark Willis said...

I like the sound of your "root cellar". I didn't think that things like celery would survive so long without natural light and air.
A friend of mine has a cat that appeared in similar circumstances to Little Willie - he called the cat "Lucky", which seemed very apt.

Jane said...

I am wondering what you used in those pots. Did you use pure soil, or a sand mixture? I might need to try that.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

yay! see - you guys are becoming cat magnets.. ha! they are kinda like potato chips - you cant have just one. or a dozen. you get the idea. great work on the celery! can you believe the growing season is winding down?

GrafixMuse said...

I never thought of potting up celery for the winter. What a good idea.

Little Willie is so lucky to have found you.

Buttons said...

Great information about the celery I did not know that.
Willie is adorable I know he has found a very good home he is a lucky kitty. B

Liz said...

Wow - fabulous celery forrest. Can I ask how large the pots are and is it 3 plants I see per pot? I am running out of garden bed space and like the idea of pot grown celery.

Julie said...

I just don't know how we are supposed to pay attention to your groovy celery tip with that very cute cat sharing the same post ; )
Also want to Thank-you for your amazing blog roll, it's a very fun place to visit!

granny said...

I love reading your posts Mr and Mrs H...your gardening is so different to ours.No snow problems here :0)
Willie is so very lucky stumbling across such a welcoming family :0)
All s good with the world when there is food in the garden :0)

Mrs. Mac said...

This was our first year planting celery. It wasn't what I expected .. nice juicy stalks like in the market. The stalks were tough for the most part. The leaves are great though. I kept a few to overwinter.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I am happy that crisp & tender variety like the weather there. It was the first celery seeds that we harvested.Without light that much it will blanched naturally isn't it.

Lrong said...

I am quite hopeless with growing celery... I just let them stay in the field all the time... for that, I get tough stalks... Willie is a very handsome cat...

Mr. H. said...

Lynda - We do go through quite a bit of celery around here.:) My wife dries the leaves and makes a celery salt but we have never tried drying the stalks...I'll have to try that.

Kelli - He is a handful, his nickname is Silly Willie.

Villager - Yes they do have there own plans for us, I think one of Willie's is to spend as much time as possible on my lap.

Anne - Willie is a pretty lucky fellow, he was so small I doubt he would have made it on his own for much longer. The next cat that comes along has a problem though as we are full up, 4 is enough.

Cathy - Celery does prefer the cooler weather, glad to here it does well for you.

Kumi - I thought you might like him and yes, he is very mischievious.:)

Mark - The first time we potted up our celery for winter use I was also very surprised at how well it fared in the dark. As long as I don't let the soil dry out it holds up remarkably well.

Jane - We used good garden soil for the celery, normally we just use sand but I thought I would try something different this year as the sandy soil always seems to dry out too quickly.

Ohio - Yep, we now have as many cats as you do dogs..a guess that would be a pride of cats.:) I'm not ready for the growing season to end but do believe that I will see serious frost outside this morning...I'm just happy we have had such an extended frost free fall so far.

GrafixMuse - We have done this for quite a few years now and love having an abundance of celery at our disposal throughout the winter months.

Buttons - Willie is indeed a lucky kitten. He is sitting on my lap as I type this.:)

Liz - I believe they are 4 gallon pots and we planted 3 - 4 in each one depending upon how big the root system was...4 to a pot is a bit crowded though.

Julie - He makes it hard to type too, especially when he is trying to crawl onto the keyboard.:)

Granny - Yes, every thing we do in the garden pretty much revolves around the fact that we will have up to 5-6 months of snowy weather to deal with. I'm not looking forward to the cold months...brr.

Mrs. Mac - In order to get your celery to be more tender give it lots and lots of water and try blanching/shading it. I have never blanched ours but have read that putting a cut out milk carton around the plant 3 weeks before harvest will make for much more tender stalks. Also, they seem to grow a bit slower but be more tender if not grown in full sun.

Malay-Kadazan girl - The celery was wonderful, thank you so much for the seeds...you obviously did a good job saving them as the germination rate was excellent. Yes, they do self-blanch somewhat in the dark of our root cellar.

Mr. H. said...

Lrong - Celery can be a bit challenging, we grew most of ours in a slightly shadier and damper area of the garden this year and it seemed to help make it a bit more tender.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

What wonderful idea's you have! That Celery looks terrific..In my next life I'll be your neighbor :o) and learn how to do a lot of things before I guff up :o)

Mr. H. said...

Ginny - Sounds like a plan Neighbor.:)

kitsapFG said...

I adore your innovative grow cellar approach to fresh food production during winter - really is inspired and makes such good sense.

As for Willie, I hope you lnow that the cats that find us in that shape (so desperately in need of kindness and care) always turn out to be the most treasured of friends ultimately. Always been my experience. We have our Sid who came to us in much the same manner but literally dieing as he made his way to our back door in a snow and high wind storm. It took a year for him to recover fully but he is with me today more than 7 years later and is the most adoring and mannerly cat I have ever had (and I have had some great ones in my lifetime).

I hope the good karma and love comes right back at ya several times multiplied.

Dani said...

Mr H - Willie certainly knows which side his bread is buttered on - sucking up to the Boss by sitting on his lap will most certainly get him a bit of extra cream now and then LOL

Mr. H. said...

Laura - Yes, both Willie and the kitten we found in our barn last winter were in terrible shape...so sad. All I can say is that neither of them will be procreating again and both have a nice warm home to laze around in this winter.

Dani - He is a little piggy, asking for treats everytime we go into the kitchen.:)

Elizabeth said...

I would love to grow celery--can it grow in Florida??
Adorable kitty, he is lucky to have found you.
Peace and Raw Health,
Elizabeth

LynnS said...

We are like you, loving celery in many dishes. Homegrown celery is so much more flavorful than the store-bought stuff, isn't it? I dehydrated some of our celery this Fall but never thought to make celery salt with some of it -- I'll try that!

I'm anxious to try your idea of potting up some of the celery this year to see how long we can keep it going in the basement. To have homegrown, organic celery all Winter would be fantastic. I'm also going to keep some under a garden tent to test that out too. Have you tried keeping it outdoors, protected, during the Winter?

Mike, did you know that you can cut the stalks near the base of the celery plant, then root it once again to get more celery? How cool is that?!

Mr. H. said...

Elizabeth - Celery shoul ddo just fine in Florida if it get plenty of water and you grow it in a semi-shady location. You will love fresh from the garden celery.:)

Lynn - I grew som eof our red giant celery under a row cover last year and surprisingly most of it made it through the winter. The celery in pots is nice to though, one less thing I have to dig out of a snow bank in the winter.:) I did not know about starting new celery from cuttings but will read up on that. Wonder if I could start some of next seasons crop that way as it is always a challenge to get celery started in the spring.

Mr. H. said...

Elizabeth - I should mention that celery might be better off planted in the fall as a winter crop in order to avoid the heat of summer in Florida.

Sustainable Eats said...

What a wonderful idea potting up your celery for the winter! I always give up on it and wait for the lovage in spring. I think I'll try this next year - thanks for the idea!

Mr. H. said...

Sustainable Eats - It works great, as long as they can be kept above freezing and the soil doesn't dry out you can have celery all year around this way.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Nice celery. I really have to try growing it especially for indoor use in the winter. So far, my celery use is restricted to soup stocks so I've relied on lovage. I saw quite a few more posts on your blog that I must follow up! Willie is a cutie.

Mr. H. said...

Ottowa Gardener - You might enjoy growing the Red Giant celery, we have had luck overwintering them in the garden under a row cover and in previous years even had a few that managed the winter with nothing but a leaf mulch. It is a thinner slightly stringier variety but that is possibly why it seems to be more winter hardy I would suppose.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

I'm so glad you saved Little Willie! I wonder where his mother and siblings are, the poor things :(

Wendy said...

aww, he's adorable! I've been thinking about growing celery for a while - even have some seeds, but I think??? it needs to be started very early and I keep forgetting. i should just mark it on my calendar.

Mr. H. said...

Wendy - I just started ours the other day but it doesn't have to be started this early if you don't mind using smaller stalks. But yes, we normaly start celery, onions, and celeriac in mid February followed shortly after by eggplants and peppers.

GetSoiled said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! I love Willie!!! He is so lucky you guys took him in!

Mr. H. said...

GetSoiled - He is a spoiled little monster.:)

Related Posts with Thumbnails