Apium graveolens v. secalinum - Leaf Celery or French Celery
Eighth of a teaspoon of open pollinated seeds from our gardens.
An almost unknown herb that looks similar to flat leaf parsley. It is much easier to grow and hardier than the common celery with the bonus of a longer season. It can be grown in containers and herb gardens as a cut-and-come-again summer salad crop. It is a vigorous plant that self seeds, prefers sunny a position and is drought tolerant growing to a metre in height.
Use the young leaves in salads, while the mature leaves are used as a seasoning herb in dressings or soups, stews, pies, and stuffings. The stems can also be used in stews and soup. Bonus is that this plant does not have the stringy stalks associated with common celery. Its flavour is stronger than the common celery so use it sparingly until you are familiar cooking with it. It also dries exceptionally well for use during winter.
Celery seeds can be used as flavoring or spice, either as whole seeds or ground. Ground seeds are mixed with salt, to produce celery salt.
Apium graveolens v. secalinum is winter hardy biennial once established. Plants grow best in a climate with a mean temperature in the range 16 - 21C. Surface sow seeds thinly in spring after the last frost in a light seed raising mix or direct sow, keeping the soil damp but not wet.
Plant near brassicas as it repels cabbage white butterflies. It is also a good companion for leeks, tomatoes and French beans.