Cultivation of Celery (Agium gravealens)
Agium gravealens var. dulace.
Celery ranks second in importance amongst salad crops. In India this crop is not commercially as a vegetable crop. Celery as a salad crop is mostly grown in kitchen or home gardens. In colder climate and on the hills. Celery is a biennial plant, while at planes it becomes an annual. It has dark green foliage with less developed stalks and swollen roots.
Uses and Nutritive Value:
The leaf stalks or petioles of celery are eaten as salad, in soups, in pure, fried an spiced.
The composition of edible portion is as follows: Moisture 93.5 gm, Phosphorus 38 mg, Vitamin A 867 L.U, Protein 0.8 g, Minerals 0.9 gm, Calcium 30 mg, Iron 4.8 mg. Fiber 1.2 mg, Vitamin C 62 mg and calories 18.
History and Origin:
The place of origin of celery extends from Sweden Southward to Algeria. Egypt, Abyssinia and in Asia even to the Caucasus, baluchism and the mountains of India. It belongs to the family Umbelliferae. In India quite a large area in the Punjab and U. P is diverted to the production of the seed. There are annuls and the seeds are being exported to European countries as a condiment.
There are green and yellow or self blenching varieties. Giant Pascal, Emperor of Jeen and Golden Self blanching are popular varieties.
The varieties recommended by I.A.R.I are standard bearer and Wright Glove Grant.
It is a moisture loving plant requires a long, cool seasons with a well distributed moderate rainfall during the growing season. It does not stand severe freezing climate. Plenty of sunshine during day and cool nights is beneficial.
Muck or pest soils are commonly used due to their high water holding capacity and friability. Alternatively any rich, friable, well drained and deep soil is good and is most suited to clayey soils.
It does not thrive well on a soil more acidic PH 5.5. it does not perform well at a PH above 6.7.
Celery is a shallow rooted crop. So the majority of nutrients are drawn from the upper surface. Good quality depends on continuous steady growth.
The nutrient requirements of celery are quite high. It requires a carefully prepared and heavily manures about 15 tonnes FYM per hectare, during preparation. Fertilizers upto one tonnes per hectare are applied once after transplanting and establishment and one to two dressing are given at intervals of three week.
Sowing Weeds and Transplanting:
The seeds of celery which are really fruits take a long time for germination and require to be sown in well prepared beds. The seeds are sown from July to September in the nursery bed and need a partially shady and cool situation. The seeds are sometimes kept moist for a few days before sowing to help in germination. About 300 to 400 gm of seeds are required for one hectare. The seeds are lightly covered and seedlings come out 3 to 8 weeks and are thinned to about 1.2 cm spacing. The seedlings are transplanted after about two month to a spacing of 45 x 15 or 60 X 15 cm. the planting should not be done very deeps as spacing damage may results.
The supply of water must be ample all times especially at planting, amnuring and blanching.
Excluding light from the stalks while the plants are still growing makes them devoid of chlorophyll and are known as blanched. The plants are earthed up when they are about 40 cm tall, after removing suckers. The earth should not be allowed to come into contact with the heart of the plant. Two more earthlings are allowed at fortnightly intervals and only tips of leaves should be visible after the final earthling up. Blanching improves both the flavours and the tenderness.
Frequently weeding is done. Care should be taken twit the roots are not injured by implements, as they are shallow.
The harvest is taken up four to five months after sowing. Each plant is cut just below the surface with a sharp knife. The plants are then trimmed and prepared for the market.
The average yield of about 25000 kg/ha.
Celery in storage absorbs foreign flavours. So it should be kept away from the odours of other products. They are stored after harvest in trenches, cellars and cold storage. In cold storage they are kept at 0 C at 95 – 98 % RH.
Insect and Pest and Disease:
Celery leaf miner, carrot weevil and Aphids are come of the insect which attack celery.
The disease, which affect celery are Early and late blight. Fusarium, yellow and pink rot. The virus diseases affecting celery are celery mosaic and Aster yellow.