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.
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