Kintsai Dark Green Celery
Seed Count: Approx. 200 seeds
Days to Maturity: 45-60 days
Description: Kintsai Dark Green celery is a fast growing, slow bolting, cool season, annual heirloom that's fast growing and super easy to grow, making it super beginner friendly. This Chinese celery boasts lovely celery flavor, with none of the fuss of their Western counter parts. Kintsai Dark Green Chinese celery has vibrant, small, dark green leaves, and thin lightly ribbed stalks, with flavor that intensifies the longer you allow it to mature. Even the seedlings have amazing celery flavor, and works wonderfully as microgreens. The leaves and stalks are great in salads, soups, stews, stir fries, and dumplings. It is an absolute must to add to your garden, if you love making Asian cuisines. Its flavor is peppery when eaten raw, but sweetens as it cooks, and grows exceptionally well under cut and come again conditions. This aromatic variety does best in temperate climates, but can be grown partially shaded in hotter areas.
How To Grow
Sowing: Celery grows best as a fall crop in most climates, so its best to start your seeds about 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Soak them overnight to speed germination, then sow them in a flat in rows 1" apart. Keep the soil moist and keep the flat out of direct sun. Celery seeds are notorious for slow germination, and can often take two or three weeks to sprout. When the plants reach about 2 inches tall, transplant them into nursery pots. Set them out in the garden when they reach about 6" tall or after your last frost date. Space them 6-8 inches apart in rows 2-3' apart, putting them at the same soil level as they were in their pots. Make sure the soil is enriched with compost or other organic matter, so the celery can grow quickly. Companion plant celery with tomatoes, cauliflower, or cabbage.
Growing: Provide celery with adequate water. Celery is a thirsty plant, and requires steady watering to succeed. Feed your plants with compost or fertilizer every two weeks. If the temperature falls below 55 degrees F consistently, cover your plants. Growing success for celery depends on plentiful moisture, enriched soil, and protection from high temperatures and the sun. For a sweeter, more tender taste, many gardeners blanch their celery about two weeks before harvesting it. This is accomplished by wrapping newspaper or cardboard around the stalks up to the point where the leaves begin. However, this is a self blanching variety, so this step is not necessary, though you can still do it. You can also simply mound dirt up to cover the stalks if you wish to blanch them.
Harvesting: Remove and harvest individual outer stalks or the entire plant at any stage. I love to eat raw celery, but cooked its delicious too. Its an absolute necessity in my dressing. Celery leaves can also be used, such as for flavoring like an herb or in salads. To save seed in areas where the ground freezes over winter, it will be necessary to dig up the celery before the first heavy frost; cover the roots with dirt and the stalks with straw, and keep them in a humid location with near freezing temperatures. In the spring, remove rotted or damaged stalks and set out the plants after the last frost. In warmer climates, leave the celery in the ground and cover them thickly with mulch over winter. In the spring, allow the plant to flower; when the seed heads on the flower grow brown and dry, cut them off and allow them to fully dry indoors. Remove as much chaff as possible, then store in a cool, dry place.