Saturday Spotlight – Celeriac “Giant of Prague”

This has been my first year growing celeriac so I’m not sure how much insight into it I can offer nonetheless I thought it would be worth recording my experiences for this weeks spotlight.

CeleriacI have really enjoyed growing celeriac this year, or actually that should probably read these two years as I  sowed the seed last year.

I sowed the seed in mid Spring, potted up the seedlings in late Spring and eventually planted them out into the garden in early summer.

I chose a spot in the garden where they could sit, slowly, slowly developing and I wouldn’t get too annoyed about how long they were taking to mature.

And take a long time they surely did.  I harvested the first one in early Winter, a full 9 months after I initially sowed the seed.  When a crop does most of their growing over winter (eg garlic) I can forgive 9 months development time but if they occupy space over summer then they have to be pretty good to deserve their space.  I have to admit I have been really pleased that I planted and persevered with them.  In part because they are good eating and in part because they are ready at a time of the year when not many other crops are available for harvest.  As a result I think they have deserved their space, of course if you’d asked me in February I probably would have said something a little different.

I have spotlighted the variety “Giant of Prague” purely because that is the variety I grew.  As I’ve never grown any other varieties I don’t have a comparison point but as my experiences were relatively successful I would definitely grow the variety again.

I gave my celeriac plants plenty of food and water as well as mulching them well throughout their growing period and I suspect all three are key to their success.  When I say success I am perhaps exaggerating a little as my celeriacs weren’t huge, they were about 2/3 of the size of the average supermarket specimen.


Whether that is a variety issue, the fact that my plants were grown in partial shade, or something else entirely I can’t really say.  What I can say was that I did actually find the smaller size more manageable than the larger ones.  Celeriac stores really well whole but as it quickly discolours when cut them you tend to have to use it all in one go.  As a result the smaller size was something of a blessing.

Celeriac tastes a lot like celery but with a texture, when cooked, that is a lot like swede or turnip.  I mainly use it braised with lentils or in hearty vegetable and chicken soups.  Because I like it so much cooked in those things and I only grew 6 plants this year I haven’t experimented much with it.  I will save that for next year.  On Tanya from the Cooks Pyjama’s recommendation I have also started using the leaves in stock to great effect.

Have you tried growing celeriac?  What do you regard as the keys to success?

Saturday Spotlight is a series of posts highlighting particular varieties of edible plants.  If you have a favourite, or even a less than successful variety of a plant and would like to include it in the series then please leave a comment with a link below.    I have created a page (above, just below the header) with an Index of all the Spotlights to date.   I will add links to any new posts below and in next weeks post as well as ensuring they appear in the Index.  

I didn’t do a spotlight last week and I’m not sure that anyone else did either.  The New Spotlights the week before were:

Florence Fennel – Garden Glut

Turmeric – City Garden Country Garden

Kossak Kohlrabi – Our Happy Acres

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23 Responses to Saturday Spotlight – Celeriac “Giant of Prague”

  1. I’m afraid we have given up on celeriac!

  2. Dave says:

    I’ve not tried growing celeriac yet. I think one reason I haven’t grown them is because they take a long time to harvest, and I wasn’t sure if I would like them. I think after reading your review I will have to give it a go! No spotlight for me this week, but I am working on one for next week.

  3. Roger Brook says:

    You are lucky to have a nice long growing season that celeriac really needs. We need here in York UK to sow very early and as I do not heat my greenhouse it’s not worth the bother and like Sue Garrett I don’t grow it any more. It also needs lots of water and it is pretty dry here.
    But it does make the most fantastic soups!

    • Liz says:

      Ah a sensible approach – unlike me who has the tendency to try and try the same things that continue to not work….

  4. Bek says:

    I have only grown celeriac this year, and only from seedlings so have no experience. I’ve been watching yours with great interest, so thanks for putting it all together in one post!

  5. mac says:

    That’s a beauty you have there, never grown celeriac, it’ll take a lot of motivation for me to grow long term veg, I’m an impatient gardener.

  6. Louise says:

    Not tried growing celeriac yet but I could be tempted just becasue of the name of the variety. Perhaps I should grow the Giant of Prague next to my favoured Minnesota Midget melon?

  7. Mark willis says:

    I think you have done well to get Celeriac to grow even that big. I really don’t know how the commercial growers get theirs to be so huge. They must pump them full of growth hormones or something! I tried 3 years in a row and the biggest one I produced was about the size of a tennis ball. I had read that copious watering was the key to success, and I watered mine with an almost religious fervour – but to no avail! 🙁

    • Liz says:

      Fertilising? I do think mine could have probably got bigger had they got more sun. Otherwise like you I am something of a loss to know what the commercial growers do. i’ll have to ask at the next Farmers Market.

  8. Sarah says:

    I’m very impressed with your celeriac – I’d heard it was difficult to grow so haven’t bothered… you seem to have the patience and technique that are required!

    • Liz says:

      I wish you would tell me mother I am patient, and indeed the rest of my family….although I suspect they wouldn’t believe you…

  9. Alas my celeriac is no more. I had one that I was keeping to harvest the leaves, but we remodelled the veggie beds this weekend to put in a couple of raised beds and the celeriac and all my parsley had to go. They do take a long time to grow, but I think I will try them again this year. I think I will try them somewhere out of the way though. Glad to hear that you like the leaves in stock.

  10. Hi, I just came across your blog looking for Melbourne Gardening blogs and I can’t wait to go through all your old posts, it looks like you have a very bountiful garden indeed!

    I have never grown celeriac because I don’t really know what to do with it! I probably should find some good recipes and buy it at a farmer’s market first! Nothing worse than nurturing something for months on end only to discover you don’t like the taste! 😀

    • Liz says:

      Hi Jo, I went to my farmers market today and they had some beautiful big celeriacs for sale. Made mine look a bit puny it has to said……

  11. Jay says:

    Wow – I don’t know anyone who grows celeriac, though I really enjoy trying something that I’ve never tried. That’s great that you were able to try it and have some success in the process.

  12. I grew them at a clients 2 years ago from seedling and they grew to a reasonable size but still nothing like those in the store. I sowed mine in a prominent sunny spot in my vegie patch about 3 months back… damn I thought they grew in less than 9 months.

    I don’t mind the young leaves in a salad either

  13. melanie-jade says:

    I’ve never had any luck with my celeriac, but I think I may have planted them at the wrong time.Whenever I see them in the supermarket I get this huge pang of jealousy that I can never manage to grow them! I love celeriac remoulade, a great French salad, a bit like coleslaw with a mustardy mayonnaise dressing. A great way to appreciate all that growing time! I read your blog often and love seeing what you are harvesting. I harvested my first 7 (yes seven!) sugar snaps last week. They were finely sliced to make them go further in a simple salad.

    • Liz says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever eaten celeriac remoulade something I will have to remedy soon. I bet those peas tasted marvellous.

  14. Danielle says:

    Braised celeriac and lentils sounds delicious! Unfortunately I’m restricted to container-gardening as I rent but I’m definitely interested in growing celeriac down the track when I have a whole garden to play around with.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Danielle, I’ve really enjoyed it I have to say. Sadly I’ve eaten all mine now but it was lovely while it lasted. I just wish I had more space so I could grow heaps of it.

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