How to Grow Celery Microgreens Fast and EasyDecember 29, 2021
Celery microgreens are difficult to grow, but their sharp flavour is absolutely worth it. With feathery leaves and a healthy, refreshing taste, these mini veggies are a fantastic addition to your microgreen garden.
Because these are microgreens, we’ll be harvesting the sprouts, not full-grown celery stalks. However, the stems still have a bit of that famous celery crunch without the tough strings. It’s easy to add chopped celery microgreens to your vegetable soup or salads. So hang onto your peanut butter because these classic greens go with almost everything (Thai peanut curry anyone?).
We don’t grow celery microgreens just for the intense celery flavour – they’re also very nutritious! These little greens are chock-full of vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and even amino acids. So, by growing celery microgreens, you’re also investing in your health.
In this article, we’ll tailor our microgreen-growing skills to grow celery. If all goes well, we’ll end up with an abundance of delicious micro celery ready to be eaten!
Growing Celery Microgreens
As we mentioned, it’s just as tricky to grow celery microgreens as celery stalks. In order to be successful, we have to pay close attention to every step.
If you’ve tried your hand at growing microgreens before, you likely have most of these materials already. But, some are specific to celery micro greens, so we’ll go into detail. Here’s what you need:
- Microgreen seeds: choose high-quality celery seeds
- Containers: three shallow growing trays, one with drainage holes and two without, all trays the same size (our instructions are for 10″ x 20″ trays)
- Growing medium: seed starting mix or coconut coir
- Light: any grow light – we prefer the T5 grow light whenever we grow microgreens
- Kitchen shears for harvesting
- Misting bottle
Celery stalks produce itty-bitty brown seeds, so you’ll need 1 – 2 tablespoons of seed per tray. It’s recommended to use either an organic celery seed or seeds specifically intended for microgreens growing, as other celery seeds may be treated to help them withstand colder weather in the very early spring. For a good germination rate, use healthy, new seeds.
Seed starting mix is excellent for growing celery microgreens, but celery seeds also excel in coconut coir. The fibres are highly absorbent without getting soggy. In fact, coconut coir retains moisture so well that you may only have to water once!
For micro celery, it isn’t enough just for the soil to be adequately moist – they need lots of light. Microgreens grow best under a grow light instead of natural sun. With a grow light, you can position it directly above the tray so the celery seedlings grow evenly. You’ll also be able to ensure the celery microgreens get enough light each day.
Celery seeds don’t have to be soaked to germinate. However, if you’re having a hard time getting them to germinate, you can try soaking the celery seeds in warm water for 24-48 hours. Regardless of if you soak or not though, celery microgreens usually take at least a week to germinate.
If you do soak your celery seeds, plant them immediately after taking them out of the bowl. If they dry out again, the whole process will have been for nothing.
Now that you’ve gathered the supplies and the micro celery seeds are (maybe) soaked, let’s plant microgreen seeds. Start by grabbing the tray with drainage holes (we’ll use the rest later). Fill the tray ¾ of the way full with your choice of potting mix. Then, water the soil well so it’s evenly moist but not soggy. Smooth out the soil surface as flat as possible and gently press it to remove any air pockets.
Celery microgreens prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of about 5.5 – 6.0. An easy way to modify the soil is to soak it with pH-balanced water (the same used in hydroponics).
Next, sprinkle your celery microgreen seeds evenly across the potting mix. When growing microgreens, we usually like to crowd the seeds together. However, celery greens grow densely so the older seedlings will block out light to the younger ones. This can also block airflow to the celery microgreens, which encourages excess water moisture and bacteria growth. Space the seeds about ½ – 1 inch apart (take note of their density later so you can modify the spacing for the next time you grow celery microgreens).
Give the seeds a misting of water and place one of the solid growing trays directly on top of them. The blackout cover needs to be in place for a week or two, so place a weight on top to keep it from shifting. Although most microgreens thrive under heat mats, celery seeds don’t. Their max temperature is 70-75°F, so save the mat for a different crop.
Growing Celery Microgreens
We may be sowing a lot of celery microgreen seeds, but that won’t be any good unless there’s a high germination rate. Perhaps the most important microgreens maintenance you can do to help those seeds sprout is to water them from the bottom. This method prevents damping-off and other bacterial growth that celery microgreens are susceptible to. Also, it helps keep the soil from being oversaturated.
To water from the bottom, grab your third tray and fill it with a couple of inches of water. Then, set the micro celery tray inside it. The soil will absorb water through the drainage holes without a drop on the seedlings. Remove the watering tray when the plants have a sufficient bottom water supply.
Keep the blackout cover on the celery microgreen tray for the entire germination period. Every few days, take a peek inside the dark greenhouse to check the soil moisture and celery microgreen growth. In 1-2 weeks, you’ll see that the celery seeds you planted are now pale-coloured celery seedlings. You may also notice tiny root hairs emerging from the taproot of the sprouts. They’re so fine in texture that these roots are often mistaken for mould! In time though, the hairs will help anchor your sprouting celery microgreens into the soil.
When the micro celery starts to push up the blackout tray, it’s time to remove it and give the celery microgreens some light at last. Position your grow light a few feet directly above the garden tray and turn it on for 12-14 hours a day. The celery microgreens will quickly turn bright green and straighten out towards the light.
Some micro celery greens may be wearing the seed hull as a hat. It’s cute, but you’ll want to remove the hulls by gently brushing your palm across the tops of the plants.
We usually harvest microgreens right away because the taste changes as they mature. Celery microgreens keep their intense celery flavour for a much longer time so you don’t have to be rushed. You do need to harvest before the microgreens outgrow their tray (or transplant the sprouts to the garden as full celery stalks!).
Harvest either when the celery cotyledons are completely opened and green or when the first true leaves appear. At this point, the celery microgreens will be 1-3 inches tall and quite lush. Use clean kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the micro celery stems in bunches.
If you only clip the top of each celery microgreen, leaving a good amount of stem, the celery microgreens may regrow. If you’re done with this harvest though, remove all the old roots from the soil before reusing it (you can plant celery microgreen trays year-round).
Celery microgreens are delicate, so they don’t store very well. The best thing you can do is eat them right after harvesting. Add chopped celery microgreens to vegetable soup and salad or use them as a dressing for casseroles. The intense celery flavour will complement savoury dishes well.
If you’re too full for another leaf, carefully wrap the harvested, dry microgreens in paper towels and place them in a sealed container or plastic bag. Keep the celery microgreens in the fridge where they’ll last a few days more.