This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V25", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I notice at page 366, of the December number of the Monthly, an article on celery growing by Mr. A. D. Mylius, of Detroit, Michigan, in which he says that he sows the seed in a hot-bed the 1st of March. That practice is no doubt perfectly correct for his section of the country, but he should not have set that date as the proper time for sowing, without a warning that in any other section where the season is longer and the temperature higher, that if sown in a hot-bed on the 1st of March the crop would be destroyed by its running to seed. Our practice in the vicinity of New York is to sow in the open ground about the 1st of April, and plant not sooner than the 15th of June, and in particularly fine growing seasons we find that even when sown at that date a few plants will run to seed, and I am satisfied that if sown in our latitude or in any similar one, in a hot-bed on the 1st of March, a large proportion of the crop would run to seed. In Britain the practice is almost universal of sowing in hot-beds about the 1st of March. There of course it is a necessity, because the temperature is so much lower that it requires a longer season to mature.
There is no doubt that the European practice of sowing in hot-beds is the cause of a great deal of mischief here from the fact that our great variety of climate is not taken into consideration by gardeners who have had European experience. I think it is safe to say that we have at least a score of complaints every season of celery running to seed from seeds purchased of us and other seedsmen. In nearly all cases, however, we find that the seed has either been sown in a hot-bed, or, in some of the extreme Southern States, sown too early in the open ground. Hence in giving experience in a special locality one should always be careful to state that that practice may not be proper for another section.
Michigan is proving to be an excellent latitude for celery culture. Last season large quantities grown at Kalamazoo were sent to the New York market - and perhaps also from Detroit - that was ahead in quality of anything we had raised here that season, owing to the unprecedented drouth. As a rule however, celery would not pay to ship that distance, because it is rare indeed that our crop fails in this vicinity. I have only seen it fail twice - as it did in 1881 - in thirty years.