While traveling in France and the Netherlands recently, I ate more celeriac than I had ever eaten before in my life. It came raw, in salads, as well as in cooked dishes. And I liked it – so we have decided to grow it.

Celeriac is also called celery root, and you eat the lumpy root part. It takes a long time to grow, so you have to plant seeds inside – about now.

Celeriac seeds need light to germinate, so plant them shallowly, several seeds per cell, in seedling trays filled with a potting mix such as Pro-Mix. Be patient, because it takes them 14 to 21 days to sprout and emerge from the soil. And not all seeds will sprout. Cornell University says 50 percent germination is considered good for celeriac.

Keep the trays moist and warm, about 70 to 75 degrees. After they sprout, the temperature can be lowered to 60 to 70 degrees, and you should thin the plants to one per cell.

About two weeks before the last frost date in your area, you can transplant the seedlings outside. Celeriac can withstand a light frost. Plant them 6 to 8 inches apart. As they grow, you should hill soil over the roots to protect them.

Celeriac takes a long time to mature. Johnny’s Selected Seeds says the flavor improves after a light frost, but a heavy frost should be avoided. So harvest after the first, light frost. If you keep celeriac at 33 to 38 degrees in a humid environment, it should keep six months.