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Barbara Pleasant: Cutting Celery

The leaves of cutting celery are loaded with nutraceuticals, including several potent anti-inflammatory agents. Egyptian researchers are looking into the possible use of topical gels or creams made from leaf celery for treatment of arthritis pain.
When growing cutting celery, give seedlings a long head start indoors. I start seeds in February and thin them to three to a container. When the seedlings have three strong leaves, I gently transplant them to individual pots. You can leave them in twos and threes if you like! I set the seedlings out under a row cover tunnel about a month before the last spring frost. 
Cutting celery that survives winter produces an abundance of flowers and seeds. The flowers are visited by scads of small pollinating insects, and flower production continues for weeks. Volunteer seedlings are often abundant the following year, eliminating the need to start new plants from seed.

Packed with flavor and fiber, it's best to thinly slice cutting celery crosswise or diagonally. A sharp knife makes quick work of slicing and dicing any type of garden celery.

Sources for Cutting Celery Seeds 

Many seed companies sell cutting celery seeds, including Renee's Garden Seeds, Johnny's and Fedco

Cutting celery seedlings can be thinned to two or three per clump. By summer they will grow into bushy upright plants.
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Cutting Celery for Kitchen Gardens


After growing celery of all types in various gardens, I think the best choice for kitchen gardeners is cutting celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum). Sometimes called seasoning celery, French celery or Chinese celery, cutting celery is a more primitive form of familiar supermarket celery. A great cut-and-come-again vegetable, cutting celery plants that are harvested often send up new stalks all summer. 

With crisp stalks and tender leaves packed with flavor, cutting celery is easy to grow from seeds sown in spring. The stalks and leaves are used in salads and stocks, and the leaves keep their flavor when dried. The seeds make a great seasoning for dozens of dishes.  


If you can nurse year-old plants through winter (certainly doable in Zone 6), they will send up a huge flush of stems in early summer, followed by lots of flowers and seeds. Like parsley, cutting celery is hardy to about 5°F, especially when provided with an insulating mulch.  


As a true biennial, overwintered cutting celery is happy to produce zillions of seeds. Seedlings set out in spring while the weather is still cool may receive sufficient chilling to bloom and set seed their first summer.

Cutting celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum) produces huge crops of celery seed. These seedlings came up in the back of my compost heap.
cutting celery seedlings
These cutting celery seedlings came up behind a compost heap
overwintered cutting celery in spring
Overwintered cutting celery in spring

One of the best ways help your garden save you more money is to grow things you would otherwise buy, for example garden celery. If you don't grow your own, celery is one veggie to always buy organically grown. According to research from the Environmental Working Group, conventionally-grown celery contains high levels of pesticide residues.