Celery is great source of vitamin K.
image by Sanja Gjenero/sxc.hu
Celery is a household staple in most homes. Fortunately, with proper care, water and soil, it can be successfully grown in home gardens. The fresh crisp celery stalks--also called petioles--are rich in vitamin K and with a technique called blanching, you can grow and harvest celery that is more tender and sweet than those gardeners who do not blanch.
Determine about what time your celery will be ready to harvest. Generally, celery is ready to harvest in late fall after 85 to 120 days from planting, depending on variety. There are some varieties that are ready to harvest in the early summer if planted early.
Begin blanching your celery about two or three weeks prior to harvesting, if desired. Wrap the celery stalks with newspaper or brown paper to block the sunlight. Tie with rubber band, string or pantyhose. If you grew your celery in drenches, cover them with soil to blanch. Blanched celery will be a lighter green, taste sweeter and be more tender than non-blanched celery.
Harvest a bit early by pulling off the outer stalks when they're about 12 inches long. New stalks will grow to a complete celery plant for later harvesting.
Harvest the celery when the stalks are at a minimum 12 inches long. They can grow, however, to about 12 to 24 inches. Together, the petioles should be about 3 inches or more in diameter. The stalks should be compact; there should be little open space in the center of the celery stalk.
Pick the celery by pulling them out of the ground. If difficult, use a small trowel or shovel to dig the root up. You may need a knife to cut any stubborn roots that will not easily come out. Cut off the root off the stalk and then store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks for fresh, crisp celery.