This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Hitherto I have only treated of this vegetable so as to produce an ordinarily good sample, and in a way that will pay the market-gardener; but if it be desirable to have extra quality and the largest size, some difference should be made in the culture. Celery will feed freely on very rich manures if judiciously applied, but not otherwise; and the best time to use such is during active growth, and after the greatest heat of summer is past. There is no difficulty in obtaining heads of eight to ten pounds weight, and in some instances even more, if the following directions be adopted:
Raise the plants, and plant out as before directed, with the exception of the trenches, which should be opened wider, and about half as much more well-rotted manure added. When a trifle advanced in size, and growing fast, place a few inches of fresh "maiden" earth along side of the stalks; and if there is a hog-pen at hand, procure a quantity of the drainings and slush, fresh as it is, convey it to your rows of Celery, and after raising a small ridge outside and away a short distance from the plants along the row, pour it on the surface. Take care that this does not come too near the stalks, or it will most assuredly rot them; and do not mutilate the roots, or they will be destroyed. Do not apply this or any other strong manure during hot weather, or the increased luxuriance will not bear the sun's rays, and the leaves will blister. A wet time is the best for this kind of application; and in the absence of frequent rains, use water very freely. If hog drainings are not to be had, a good but not equal substitute is dung-hill drainings, or guano dissolved in water at the rate of fifteen gallons to one pound. If the hog wash be used, one application will be enough; but of the others, a repetition every three or four days for three weeks will be necessary.
The after-soiling may proceed as before advised, with the exception that if deferred longer the weight will be greater.
It may be thought that this is a strong dose; but we must recollect that it is only applied when growth is most active, and the plants under favorable circumstances as to temperature; and most vegetables will flourish at this period with manures of so rich a nature as to kill them at other times. It is from a want of knowledge on this very point, that so much mischief is frequently done in this way. What is here advised has often been done in my own practice, when wishing to obtain extraordinary results, and has answered the purposes for which it was intended.
The following criteria will show what a first rate head of Celery is, and how it ought to appear on the exhibition table. The weight may be from six to ten pounds. It should be taken up with the roots Preserved. and cleanly washed. The external form should correspond in length to girth - not short and thick, nor long and slender. The base immediately above the roots ought to be nicely rounded - not bulged, nor split; the stalks solid, brittle, straight, perpendicular to the base, with the leaflets confined to the upper part, leaving the stem clear below. The blanching should extend in the second inner row of stalks Up to the leaves, and to the base of the outer ones; all inside of this ought to be clear and eatable, and proceed in the middle nearly to the top of the leaves: the whole available substance for use being about one-half the entire bulk. There ought not to be any spots or freckles of any kind on any part, nor the least sponginess or hollowness. If a White variety, the bleaching should be perfectly white; and if a Red, of a clear whitish-pink, shading off to white in the heart Such is a first rate head of Celery; and I hope that more attention will begin to be paid at exhibitions to a better standard of excellence in vegetables, for there is yet much room for improvement.