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Growing Celery Hydroponically – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing Celery hydroponically (without soil)

Celery is a herbaceous plant of the parsley family (Apiaceae). Celery is a versatile vegetable that is consumed both raw and cooked. Hydroponic growing has some benefits over conventional gardening. In hydroponics, your plants can grow up to 25 percent faster, you can grow them almost anywhere and soil-borne pests are virtually nonexistent. While you can select from several hydroponic techniques, Celery is easily grown in an ebb and flow system that can provide adequate support for the stalks as well as plenty of water for the plants. In this article we also discussed the following topics;

  • Hydroponic Celery growing conditions
  • Hydroponic Celery nutrient requirements
  • Hydroponic Celery growing medium
  • Optimal pH for Celery growing hydroponically

A step by step guide to growing Celery hydroponically

Celery is an herb that lends multiple health benefits and it can be easily grown with hydroponics and at even lower cost with the Hydroponics Kratky Method. Celery is a vegetable that can be produced well in a hydroponic environment. Hydroponic system growth removes several problems that can plague conventional garden plants, including insects and other pests, weeds, and soil toxins.

Conditions required for growing Celery hydroponically

Celery is another cool-season vegetable, growing best between 15 and 23°C. One drawback to growing Celery vegetable is that it takes longer than other hydroponic crops up to 140 days, so start your crop early.  When choosing nutrients for hydroponic Celery, consider adding a mineral supplement of calcium and magnesium or humic acid. Calcium and magnesium will also help the strength of the stalks while humic acid will increase the speed of nutrient uptake for nutrient density.

An air pump keeps the water oxygenated as roots grow into the 2-gallon reservoir for water and nutrients. It comes with everything you need to grow, fertilize, and finish crop all conveniently together. First, start by installing the view tube through the grommet at the base for the reservoir. This will help to determine the actual height of the water inside. After pressing the T-shaped air tubing into the inside of the tray, and connect the other end to the air pump. The air pump fits discretely into a cavity below the reservoir and you will not need a timer as the air pump should run continuously.

When you are ready to transplant, fill with water, and add your nutrients, dissolving each thoroughly before adding the next. After you’ve propagated Celery seeds in the starter cubes, transplant 1 seedling/cube into each pot, sitting it securely in the clay pebbles. Be sure that seedlings are positioned low enough in the pots for the water to reach the roots but not so deep that they’ll be flooded.

Celery seeds take up to 2 weeks to germinate, which is pretty long compared to other vegetables. A quicker alternative is to use the stalk of Celery you purchased from the garden store. If you take the stalk and cut 2 inches from the bottom, then put the base in a plate of room temperature water, it will start to grow after only a week. Celery vegetable needs a lot of water, so the proper system to choose would be a deep water system. Along with germinating seeds, harvesting Celery can take up to about 4 months total after the seeds are planted.

Lighting isn’t extreme and only need around 6 hours per day. It can take a long time to maturity and harvest, and they can test a grower who will need patience, though, growing this crop can be one of the most rewarding considering how expensive it can be from the supermarket.

Hydroponics fertilizers come with proprietary combinations of nutrients intended to support the growth of your plant. Any generic fertilizer work but, where a special nutrient combination for herbs is available, you should go for this mix. Never use plain water or you will be significantly depriving plant with the nutrition it requires to grow.

You can find several hydroponic systems for homegrown plants. What all have in common is a tray or container for the plants, a second container or reservoir for the nutrient fluid, and a pump to circulate water and give oxygen. You may need an overhead light system if you don’t have a greenhouse or an area with lots of natural light.

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Nutrients for growing Celery hydroponically

Most hydroponic kits will contain recommendations for nutrient solutions. Follow the directions that came with your kit or ask an experienced hydroponics grower. You might consider adding mineral supplements such as calcium and magnesium as well as humic acid. Then, the two minerals promote strong stalks. Humic acid helps increase nutrient uptake.

Organic fertilizers for hydroponic Celery

Using organic fertilizers for hydroponics can be challenging, as they can clog tubing, emit odors, or raise disease concerns. Then, pay close attention to the constituents to keep nutrients balanced. Though, if finely powdered, thoroughly sieved and completely dissolved in water, you can use;

  • Blood Meal
  • Bone Ashes
  • Hoof, horn or fish meal
  • Kelp meal or seaweed powder
  • Poultry and animal manure
  • Mineral powders

Celery is a long-season crop. Most varieties require a minimum of 90 days and 120 days isn’t uncommon. When you’re growing Celery hydroponically, you should add about 10 days to the published maturity date for your variety. Patience, planning, and careful attention to the health of plants are important to grow Celery hydroponically.

Growth medium for hydroponic Celery

Most hydroponics growers select rock wool and clay pebbles to use as a growth medium because both provide just the right amount of moisture and drainage plants need to grow. Both growth media decrease the risks of rotting or suffocating the plant roots. Either of which will work well when growing Celery at home.

The pH of water for hydroponic Celery plants

Balancing the pH in your hydroponics system is incredibly important to the health and vitality of your Celery crop. If the pH level is not in the correct range then essential nutrients and micronutrients will not be available for uptake by your plant.

The right pH level is crucial because it affects nutrient availability for growing plants. A pH that is too high or alkaline can prevent nutrient uptake and lead to deficiencies. Hydroponically grown plants require different pH levels than plants grown in soil.

Celery vegetable likes a pH level of 6.5, and the EC level of the nutrients must be 1.8 to 2.4. Then, this can be an accompanying plant in a grow room that is geared up for lettuce and cool weather crops. The daylight temperatures should be between 15 and 23°C.

Propagating Celery

There are mainly two ways to propagate Celery. Celery starting from seed is the better choice if you want to grow several pounds of Celery.  Unlike other seeds, these can take up to 2 weeks to germinate in plugs. Once you see roots poking out the bottom of your plugs you’ll want to thin out the weak sprouts and then move the stronger ones. The second process, faster alternative is to grow it from the base of the last bunch you got from the grocery store. Without removing any of the outer stalks, cut the Celery 1.5 to 2 inches from the bottom. Set base, flat side down, on a plate of room temperature water. You can start seeing new growth in about a week. Once your roots are long enough, you can transplant into the soil or the hydro system.

You can start Celery from seed or use the base of a Celery plant you grew or bought at the grocery. Plant seeds ¼ inch deep in individual soil plugs. They should germinate in about 2 weeks. Place the base of the Celery plant in an inch of water and keep the dish on a sunny windowsill for 7 to 10 days. Then, place in the hydroponic system once roots appear.

Requirements for growing Celery hydroponically

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Harvested Hydroponic Celery.
Harvested Hydroponic Celery.
  • Set the bin on a table or shelf in a bright location where your Celery will get at least 6 hours per day of sunlight. Celery is a cool-weather crop and grows best in temperatures between 14 and 26°C, so you may need to protect it from the afternoon sun. If you want to grow it indoors, place a standard fluorescent shop light within 4 inches of the top of the bin and raise the light to maintain that distance as the Celery grows.
  • Connect about 1/2-inch tubing from the shorter fitting to the submersible pump. Then, set the submersible pump at the bottom of the second bin. Put this bin directly under the first one, making sure the overflow pipe will drain into the lower bin.
  • Then, fill a net pot with clay pellets made for hydroponics. Set a rock wool cube in the top of the pellets and bury it until the indent on the top of the cube is exposed. Put several Celery seeds in the indentation and then set the pot into the top bin.
  • Pour the nutrient solution into the lower bin until it is within an inch of the top and plug the pump into the timer and set the timer to run the pump 4 times per day for no more than 30 minutes each cycle. If the upper bin fills quickly you can reduce the running time, but it fills the upper bin to the overflow level and keeps it filled for at least 10 minutes before the pump shuts off. Plug the timer into an outlet to complete the garden.

Hydroponic system for growing your Celery

Select a hydroponic base for growing your Celery and there are several kinds of bases commercially available for beginning hydroponic gardeners. Your choice of hydroponic base is dependent on how much Celery you want to grow at one time. For growing Celery, you’ll want a system that is at least 12 inches deep for the plant roots. Celery is planted about 2 to 3 inches apart, so if you want to grow 6 plants at a time, you’d need a system that has a minimum area of 12 square inches.

Set up your base in a place that gets plenty of sunlight, maintains a constant temperature of about 70F, and where it won’t be tipped over by pets or children. You will need to put base close to an outlet if you are using a base that relies on electricity to circulate the water through the base. Put the mesh netting that comes with the base across the base, following the instructions for the base. Then, lay a strip of perlite on top of the mesh netting. The perlite is what the Celery seeds will use as basic nutrients as they grow and begin to put plant roots down into the water.

Then, place five Celery seeds every 2 inches in the perlite. Add water and the recommended nutrient mix to the base unit as instructed by the base maker and then turn on the base unit. Carefully, check to make sure that the water is circulating properly. Celery takes about 5 weeks to sprout from the ground, but you will start to see root growth in a hydroponic system in about 2 to 3 weeks. Harvest the Celery when the stalks are large enough to use, usually about 4 months after planting the seeds.

Celery growing using the hydroponic Kratky method

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Celery using the hydroponic Kratky method;

  • Cover your bottle with foil wrap and the nutrients in the solution you are about to fill it with may become degraded when exposed to sunlight. You must take note that Celery loves the sun so this step is of prime importance.
  • Follow the preparation instructions on hydroponics fertilizer. Any nutrient solution comes with specific instructions that you should follow down to the tee. Any more of the fertilizer than is recommended by the manufacturer may hurt Celery. Any alteration in the recommended proportion, especially for fertilizers that require measuring and mixing, will limit the growth and yield.
  • Place the net pot inside the bottle. Make sure that there is no chance your pot can slide inside the bottle or, your Celery will drown. The water level should barely touch the bottom of the pot. As long as the growth medium touches the water, your plant should be fine. Keep in mind that your plant’s roots will grow longer downward as the water in your jar decreases.
  • Set Celery cuttings inside the net pot. It cannot be reiterated further how important it is for the size of the container you are using to complement the size of Celery cuttings.
  • Place growth medium inside the net pot. Make sure that it touches the solution and absorbs it so the solution reaches the base of the Celery. Take care not to suffocate or drown herb by putting in too much growth media or soak in too much water. Remember, you want it damp not dripping in water and leave some space to allow air in.
  • Now, all you need to do is watch your Celery plant grow. Every few days, make it a point to check on the level of the solution and the length of the plant roots. You want to make sure that the tip of the roots touches the solution and the upper part of the root and the base of the plant are suspended in the air. If the tips are not able to reach the solution, add some hydroponics fertilizer solution. If the top of the roots and the base of the Celery plant is not suspended, take out some of the solutions so that only the tips of the roots are submerged in the water.

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  1. this is an excellent article as it helped me the information and research that i need for an school assignment and i found most of the needed info on this page. With great thanks I am happy to say this is a wonder piece about growing celery this way and I was never bored I was intrigued well done


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