PRESS BULLETIN No. 100.
Florida Agrlcullural Experiment Si1llon.
CARE OF CELERY SEED-BEDS.
BY R. Y. WINTERS.
Most of us are familiar with the value of healthy, vigorous, well-formed
plants to produce a large crop; but we frequently overlook the importance of
having healthy, vigorous seedlings from which to grow such plants. It is as
difficult to grow a vigorous, well-formed plant from a stunted, half-starved
seedling, as it is to grow a well-developed beef animal from a runty half-
starved calf. Especially is this true with celery; for it is a slow grower, and
requires care and pushing to produce a vigorous, healthy plant for setting.
The young plants remain in the seed-bed from five to six weeks, according to
their growth. During this time the ground between the rows should be kept
loose and free from grass and weeds. Should the seedlings become yellow or
somewhat checked in growth, a solution of one pound of nitrate of soda to
ten gallons of water may be sprinkled on to advantage.
Nitrate of soda solutions should be used with care; for a strong solution
or even large quantities of a weak one would injure the roots, thereby caus-
ing a stunting which would be difficult to remedy. The solution of one pound
in ten gallons of water may be safely applied at the rate of half a gallon to
the square yard of seed-bed. A large watering pot, fitted with a finely per-
forated nozzle, will be found convenient for applying this solution..
Almost every trucker who has grown celery has had trouble with damp-
ing off in the seed-bed; and it is safe to say that nine out of ten serious cases
occur on beds that have been given too much water, or that have not been
sufficiently drained to carry off the rain water. Should the beds become in-
fected with the damping-off fungus, the disease may be checked by keeping
the surface of the soil loose, and by sprinkling a light application of slaked
lime or sulphur on the surface of the soil near the plants.
When the seedlings have reached an inch and a half to two inches in
height, and have formed three or four leaves, the most vigorous plants may
be transplanted to a bed near by, where they,will be given more room, being
set an inch apart each way. These beds may be about six feet wide, and pro-
vided with paths so that the workers can reach the ground between the plants
to keep it loose and free from weeds. Though this practice of transferring to
the "prick bed" is no longer a general custom among celery growers, there is
a difference of opinion among the best growers as to whether it pays or not.
The practice of most growers is that of planting a much larger seed-bed than
will be needed, and picking out the best plants for setting in the field. When
October 10, 1908.
celery plants become overgrown or crowded in the seed-bed, or are allowed to
remain too long before setting in the field, they undergo a check that is diffi-
cult to overcome in the field. This seed-bed stunting often causes the plants
to go to seed before they are ready for market. Should the plants have a
tendency to become spindly, it may be corrected somewhat by cutting back
the leaves. When the celery plants have reached a height of six inches and
have from four to six healthy leaves, they may be taken up for planting in the
field. Only the healthiest and most vigorous plants should be set out.
State papers please copy.