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Celery, Celery Farming and its important information

Celery plant (Apium graveolens) belonging to family Apiaceae is a hardy biennial, occasionally annual, widely cultivated for its fleshy leafstalk used as a vegetable and seeds which yield essential oil. The seed contains 2 – 3% essential oil and 17 – 18% fatty oil. The essential oil has d-selenene, sedanolide and sedanoic acid anhydride contributing to its flavour and 60% of d-limonene.

It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and potassium. It is an herbaceous plant with average height of stalk is about 10-14 inches and has white color flowers. Stems are light green in color having leaves attached with stem which is 7-18 cm long.

The crop is grown as a winter annual for its seed and seed oil, used for flavoring tinned food and sauces. It is also used in pickles. The seed has carminative and nerve stimulant properties; it is used as a neuro-tonic in domestic medicine. The leaves are used in salad and also cooked as vegetable.

Origin: Celery (Apium graveolens linn.) is a Mediterranean herb, brought into cultivation in France and England during sixteenth century. Later, it spread to many parts of temperate Europe and USA. The crop was introduced in India around 1940 from France for its seed crop.

Uses:

  1. The seed is a stimulant and carminative and is used as a nerve toxin.
  2. Seed oil is used for flavorings food items and in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.
  3. Celery is used to cure joint pain, headache, nervousness, gout, weight loss, blood purification etc.
  4. It is used in making stews, salads and soups.
  5. It is used as a remedy for rheumatism.

Area and production Status in India: The crop is cultivated mainly in the states of Punjab (Jallandhar, Gudaspur and Amritsar districts), Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh (Ladhwa and Saharanpur districts) over an area of about 5000 ha. About 90% of the total produce comes from Punjab.

Varieties: There are two types of celery, one is self-branched or yellow and green leaved. Giant pascal, Emperor of Jeen and Golden self-blanching are popular varieties among the celery types.

Climate: It is a winter (rabi) crop, needs warm days and cool nights, low humidity and plenty of sun-shine. Generally, cool temperature at sowing and warm dry weather at seed ripening is ideal. A week long cold spell during mid seasons can induce bolting and lower seed yield.

Soil: Alternatively, any rich, friable, well drained and deep soil is good. The crop thrives well on silt loam to loamy soil with moderate organic matter. pH- 6.0 to 6.6 in minerals and 5.5 in organic soil.

Sowing Seeds: The seed are sown from mid-September – mid-October month in the nursery bed and need a partially shady and cool situation.

Seed Rate: About 300 to 400 gm of seeds are required for one hectare.

Sowing Depth: 2-4 cm depth

Germination: Germination of seed starts 12-15 days after sowing When germination begins, application of calcium ammonium nitrate at fortnight to each bed is given. For good plant size application of calcium ammonium nitrate @100g is given to each bed at the interval of one month.

Transplanting: The seedlings are transplanted after about two months.

Spacing: 45× 15 or 60 × 15 cm

Irrigation: The crop is given irrigation at fortnightly intervals in early part and weekly nearing seed maturity. Irrigation at CPE (cumulative pan evaporation) 25/50 is optimum for high seed yield (13q/ ha).

Fertilizer: The crop is given 20 to 30 t/ha of FYM at land preparation and 100-150 kg of N/ha (in 3 splits), P2O5 and K2O. One-third of N, together with P2O5 and K2O at 40 to 60 kg/ha is basically applied. In some tracts Mg and Bo are needed. In some locations, Ca deficiency has been found to cause black heart disease whereas Bo deficiency results in wacked stem and Mg deficiency causes chlorosis.

Intercultural Operation: Basically, celery is a long duration crop, hence proper weed control operations should be carried out. Mulching is one of the best ways to control the weeds. Light hoeing should be carried regularly and lateral shoots should be removed. To control the weed growth effectively in celery plants, should apply Linnuram at the rate of 15 kg/ha.

Blanching is very much needed in celery farming as to make crisp, reduce acrid flavors, and increase good flavor and tenderness.

Disease and Pest management:

Disease and its control:

Celery Mosaic Virus: It is virus which gets transmitted to other plants by aphids. The symptoms are vein clearing, vein mottling, leaves get curled, twisted and has stunted growth.

Treatment: Spraying of Rogor30 EC@3ml/ltr or Acephate @6-8gm/ltr of water is done at the time of flowering to get rid from celery mosaic virus.

Early blight (Cercospora leaf spot, Cercospora blight): It is a fungal disease which is caused by Cercospora apii. The symptoms are small yellow spots on both upper and lower surface of leaves.

Treatment: If infestation is observed take spray of Zineb 75WP@400gm or M-45@400gm per acre in 150 lit of water.

Downy mildew: It is a fungal disease which is caused by Peronospora umbellifarum. The symptoms are lesions which gets darker with the maturity of plant, yellow spots on the upper surface and white fluffy growth on the lower surface of leaves.

Treatment: If infestation is observed drenching of Copper oxy chloride@400gm or M-45@400gm per acre in 150 ltr of water.

Pest and their control:

Aphids: They affect the plant growth by sucking the cell sap of the leaves.

Treatment: Spraying of Malathion 50 EC @400ml/acre at the interval of 15 days is done to get rid of aphids.

Harvesting: The harvesting is taken up 4 to 5 months after sowing. Harvesting of plant and seeds are to be done. Plants are cut just above the ground with the help of sharp knife. Seed harvesting is mainly done when most seeds turn light brown in color in umbel. Immediate harvesting is required as delay in harvesting results in seed loss. The plants are then trimmed and prepared for the market.

Yield: The average yield is about 25-30 ton /ha.

Health benefits of Celery:

  • Celery is good for digestion
  • It has anti-cancer properties.
  • It is good for Sexual Health.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It is excellent aid for weight loss.
  • It is good for hydration.
  • It helps in relieving heartburn.
  • It helps in controlling cholesterol and blood pressure.

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